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US Government Requests Prisoner Swap; Paul Whelan, Brittney Griner May be Exchanged for Russian Arms Dealer

Photo: MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON DC, July 29, 2022 ~ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday that the Biden Administration proposed the release of US Marine and former Michigan Police Officer Paul Whelan and WNBA Basketball Player Brittney Griner, and sources say the rumored swap is in exchange for the “Merchant of Death,Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

It’s hard to send back an arms dealer to Russia for an American tourist,” said David Whelan, twin brother of Paul Whelan to 760 WJR‘s Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz. “But if you have two Americans, then perhaps there is a change in what the value is, or what the exchange can be.”


July 28, 2022 ~ Paul Whelan‘s brother David Whelan talks with Kevin and Tom following the announcement of the proposal to get Paul W. home.

July 28, 2022 ~ 760 WJR Senior News Analyst Chris Renwick updates Kevin and Tom about the proposal to get Paul Whelan back home.

(CONTINUED) This is in clear opposition to typical Department of Justice practices, as the organization generally opposes prisoner trades.

Paul Whelan has been held in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges, and in 2020 was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian prison.

Secretary of State Blinken said that President Biden is “directly involved,” and signed off on the proposal, however did not directly confirm that Bout was part of the deal, saying that he “won’t get into any of the details of what we proposed to the Russians over the course of so many weeks now.”


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