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Cherelle Griner on wife Brittney’s appeal: ‘We have to prepare for the worst’

A fan holds a sign for Brittney Griner ahead of a game at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle this season. (Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cherelle Griner said she is preparing for the worst.

The wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, spoke with “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King on Thursday in her first interview since Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. During the interview, she described the situation as “like a movie.”

“I’m like, ‘In no world did I ever think our president and a foreign nation president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife.’ And so to me, as much as everybody’s telling me a different definition of what B.G. is, it feels to me as if she’s a hostage,” Cherelle Griner said.

She added that the situation “terrifies” her.

“When you watch movies, like, sometimes those situations don’t end well. Sometimes they never get the person back,” she added.

Griner is set to appear in court again on Oct. 25, when a Russian court will hear her appeal. The Phoenix Mercury star was convicted on Aug. 4 after she admitted to possessing vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She testified that she hadn’t meant to pack them and did not have criminal intent.

Her lawyers have argued that the sentence, which is close to the 10-year maximum, is excessive.

The White House called the upcoming appeal “another sham judicial proceeding” on Tuesday, adding that President Joe Biden is telling his administration to “engage with the Russian government at all levels” in order to get Griner home. The U.S. State Department has made an offer to Russia for both Griner and Paul Whelan.

While Cherelle Griner said she hopes the situation could be resolved in the next two weeks, she is continuing to come to terms with the idea that Griner could remain in Russia for a years.

“The reality of the situation is that once that hearing is held and the order is finalized, she is now in the position where she could be moved to a labor camp. My brain can’t even fathom it,” she said. “Obviously it’s not for sure, but we are operating in a position where we have to prepare for the worst.

“I mean, this is my life and so I’m sitting there like, ‘Do we get her back? Do I ever get to see my wife again?’ Like, what happens here? The fact that everything’s so unprecedented and everything’s, like, changeable I think is a really good word. Like, I feel like every day I’m hearing something new, and so it’s just kind of like, it’s terrifying.”