Phoenix Mercury meet with State Department officials about Brittney Griner

The State Department confirmed the meeting, but offered no additional details about what was said or who specifically attended.

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Representatives from the U.S. State Department updated the Phoenix Mercury on Brittney Griner’s situation.

Representatives from the U.S. State Department updated the Phoenix Mercury on Brittney Griner’s situation.

Rick Scuteri/AP

WASHINGTON — State Department officials met Monday with representatives of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team about the Phoenix Mercury star’s monthslong detention in Russia and the Biden administration’s efforts to secure her release.

The State Department confirmed the meeting, which involved officials from its specialized office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans, but offered no additional details about what was said or who specifically attended.

The administration has previously said that it is working to bring Griner and another American, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, home from Russia. Whelan has been held in Russia since his December 2018 arrest on espionage charges he and the U.S. government say are false.

Griner was detained on Feb. 17 at an airport in Russia after authorities there said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative. In May, the State Department reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained and transferred oversight of her case to the State Department Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, or SPEHA.

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