*Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, says she has ‘zero’ trust in the U.S. government after a botched phone call on their fourth wedding anniversary.
We reported previously, per CNN, that Cherelle told The Associated Press that Brittney attempted to call her 11 times on Saturday — their anniversary — but nobody at the US Embassy in Moscow was there to connect the call. Cherelle said she was “very pissed” about the error and that the call had been scheduled for weeks. She also said she had learned that the number her wife had been given to call usually processes calls only on weekdays, which is likely why the multiple calls had gone unanswered.
As you know, Griner has been detained in Russia since February on accusations of drug smuggling and has been officially classified as “wrongfully detained,” a US State Department official told CNN in May. The basketball champion faces five to 10 years in prison if convicted.
“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
They added: “The U.S. Government will continue to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner and her family.”
“I find it unacceptable, and I have zero trust in our government right now,” Cherelle told AP, as reported by People. “If I can’t trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife’s behalf to come home? Because that’s a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call.”
Cherelle noted that the botched phone call incident left her “not well.”
In a statement to AP, a State Department representative said, “We deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak with her wife because of a logistical error.”
Per CNN, a State Department spokesperson told the outlet that the department has “no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.”
“We remain in regular contact with the families of those held hostage or wrongfully detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure we are communicating and sharing information in a way useful to our families,” the spokesperson said.