Family of American Accused of Spying by Russia Says Little Response from Plea to Trump for Help

A Michigan man held in Russia on espionage charges is asking President Trump to help gain his release. But the family of Paul Whelan says the U.S. has not even officially said he is being wrongfully imprisoned.

Paul Whelan, courtesy of David Whelan.

Courtesy of David Whelan

Russian officials detained Paul Whelan in December, accusing him of having a flash drive containing state secrets. Whelan says he thought they were vacation photos.

The former U.S. Marine, an American citizen who also holds passports in three other countries, made his appeal to President Trump during a hearing in Moscow City Court.

His request to be placed under home detention was denied. Whelan instead was ordered to remain isolated in a Russian prison for the next three months, where he claims interrogators are trying to coerce him into confessing to being a spy.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted that he had met recently with Whelan’s sister, adding that the U.S. was working to support the captured American and that Russia had “provided no evidence of any wrongdoing.” But he did not say Whelan was being held illegally or improperly. Now Whelan’s twin brother, David Whelan, tells WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter the future for his detained brother remains murky.

Click the audio link above to hear the full interview.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.