Trevor Reed Criticizes Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan Arrests: 'All Courts in Russia Are Fake'

·3 min read
Trevor Reed; Brittney Griner
Trevor Reed; Brittney Griner

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images; KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

Trevor Reed, the former US Marine who spent years in Russian detainment before being released back to the United States in April, called the prisons in which detained basketball star Brittney Griner and another former Marine, Paul Whelan, are being held, "terrible."

On Monday, Reed, 30, said in an interview with CBS Mornings that the facility where Griner, 31, is being held is "probably going to be significantly better than the forced labor camp" where he said 52-year-old Whelan is incarcerated.

Reed described "extremely dirty" Russian prison cells and food that has often rotten when asked to offer insight into how Griner is being treated, though he noted that the conditions at the pre-trial detention facility she's staying at while she appeals her August 4 sentence to nine years in prison are likely slightly better.

"While you're there, you're going to be meeting with lawyers, there's a lot of waiting, you may be requesting expertise or trying to find new evidence in order to appeal the ruling of the previous court during that time, and that appeal could take years, basically," he told CBS Mornings. "But in the end all of those appeals are fake, they're as fake as the first trial you receive. All courts in Russia are fake."

RELATED: Trevor Reed Says White House 'Has Ability to' Bring Brittney Griner Home: 'They've Clearly Chosen Not to'

Reed himself was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison in July 2020 for allegedly assaulting police officers. During his trial, the American ambassador to Russia, John J. Sullivan, called the proceedings "so preposterous that they provoked laughter in the courtroom," noting that "even the judge laughed."

"Just hang in there, just know people are fighting for you," Reed told CBS Mornings when asked what advice he would provide Griner and Whelan amid reported talks of a prisoner swap to secure their return to the US.

US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, holds a picture of her team as she stands inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. - Lawyers for US basketball star Brittney Griner, who is standing trial in Russia on drug charges, said on July 26, 2022 they hoped she would receive a "lenient" sentence.
US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, holds a picture of her team as she stands inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. - Lawyers for US basketball star Brittney Griner, who is standing trial in Russia on drug charges, said on July 26, 2022 they hoped she would receive a "lenient" sentence.

EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Brittney Griner holds up a photo of her teammates while in court

"Just know you have a lot of people supporting you back here at home and the highest levels of the U.S. government are attempting to get you out," he said. "So keep the faith."

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Following Griner's sentencing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on August 5 that Moscow was "ready to discuss" the possibility of a prisoner swap, according to NBC News.

"There is a special channel that has been agreed upon by the presidents, and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel remains relevant," Lavrov said about any diplomatic talks between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RELATED: A Timeline of Brittney Griner's Detainment in Russia

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at a press conference in Phnom Penh on August 5, said Russia is "prepared to engage through channels we've established ... and we'll be pursuing that," according to the news outlet.

Reed previously suggested in July that he personally felt the U.S. government was not doing enough to secure Griner and Whelan's release. In an interview with NBC News Now, Reed indicated he would find the The New York Times' reported exchange of Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was sentenced to 25 years in 2011, an acceptable price to pay for her release.