Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
The separate meetings are to be the first in-person encounter between Biden and the families and are taking place amid sustained but so far unsuccessful efforts by the administration to secure the Americans’ release.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev confirmed that prisoner swap negotiations for Brittney Griner were underway.
Brittney Griner reacted with little emotion. Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the verdict and sentence as “unacceptable.”
Brittney Griner acknowledged in court that she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she arrived in Russia but contends she had no criminal intent and packed the cartridges inadvertently.
Biden's conversation with Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, followed Brittney Griner's personal appeal to the president in a handwritten letter from the basketball player the White House received on Monday.
WNBA star Brittney Griner has gone on trial in a Russian court on charges of possessing cannabis oil. Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport while traveling to play for a Russian team.
U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner will remain in Russian custody through at least July 2 after her detention was extended for a third time.
Russian authorities said a search of Brittney Griner's luggage revealed vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. She has a hearing set for May 19.