The case of the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China on suspicion of shoplifting has officially caught the eye of President Donald Trump, who personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case, according to the Washington Post.
Arriving the day after the players were arrested, Trump reportedly raised the players' predicament during his visit to Beijing.
Last week, the trio were arrested for stealing sunglasses from Louis Vuitton and then it was later revealed they stole from Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores as well.
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Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has been in touch with Chinese authorities as well as the players' families and UCLA Coach Steve Alford, The Post reported.
A US official speaking to Nakamura on the condition of anonymity said that the case is proceeding towards a resolution with reduced charges in the matter. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump and Xi talked about the case. Three players were questioned from each team. The source told ESPN there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end retail center.
Ball is the brother of highly-touted L.A. Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, and the son of LaVar Ball - who has become a household name due to his over-the-top promotion of his sons, specifically Lonzo. Neither made any mention of the UCLA players' arrests.
LiAngelo Ball, UCLA players reportedly had shoplifting charges reduced
They were seen walking from health club at the Hyatt Regency in Hangzhou with UCLA associate AD Chris Carlson accompanying them. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump raised the matter with Xi, The Post reported.
The three did not play in the team's season opener against Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai, and did not fly back to Los Angeles with the rest of the team.
The State Department typically handles cases of Americans arrested overseas. The president spent two days in China with Xi, discussing North Korea and trade relations among other issues.
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