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13 November 2017, 11:11 | Erica Roy
Donald Trump asked the president of China to resolve the LiAngelo Ball shoplifting case
With the players stranded in China and at the mercies of the Chinese legal system, President Trump reached out to China's leader to ask him to look into the case, according to the Washington Post.
The three players, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, did not play in the team's win over Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has reportedly served as an intermediary between UCLA and Chinese officials in the hopes of bringing the players back to the United States quickly.
A USA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Post that Xi promised to look into the case and ensure that the players be treated fairly and expeditiously, adding that the charges against the three players have been reduced and that the case is moving toward a resolution. However, the charges against the players were reduced and the case was headed toward a resolution, a source told ESPN.
Donald Trump is trying to do what the UCLA men's basketball team couldn't do: take its Ball and go home.
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.
A source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation told ESPN that the three players could be in Hangzhou for "a week or two". The president spent two days in China with Xi, discussing North Korea and trade relations among other issues. The athletes were unable to play in the game, and they remain in China awaiting their fate while the rest of their team returned to the US days ago.
The State Department typically handles cases of Americans arrested overseas.
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