President Trump has asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for help regarding the case of UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill. Xi promised the players will receive fair treatment and their cases would be handled hastily, Nakamura reports, citing an anonymous USA official.
According to a report in The Washington Post published Monday morning, Trump raised the arrests during his two-day state visit to Beijing. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump and Xi talked about the case.
After facing 3-10 years in a Chinese Prison, LiAngelo Ball and his two UCLA teammates have the commander in chief in their corner fighting to get them out of China and back in the states as soon as possible.
While a resolution to the legal issues seems to be moving toward a conclusion, they will no doubt still face punishment upon return to the US, with a lengthy suspension and dismissal from the team as possibilities. They were released on bail last week, but were told to remain in Hangzhou until the legal process was completed. Under watch by Hangzhou police, they've been staying at a lakeside hotel where they've been unable to leave.
Several experts in Chinese law said charges and accompanying punishment will dependent on the value of the stolen goods. Neither made any mention of the UCLA players' arrests.
LaVar Ball later released a statement about the allegations against LiAngelo: "It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball family and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time".