WACO, Texas — Trevor Reed, the Marine veteran imprisoned in Russia on trumped-up charges, is sitting down with 25 News to tell his story.
It has been three months since a dramatic prisoner swap in Europe ultimately brought Reed back to his family in Texas.
Reed said he's hopeful that other imprisoned Americans abroad, used as political pawns by the Kremlin or other rogue governments, will eventually get their freedom.
"There's dozens of Americans in my same situation," Reed said. "In my opinion, the Biden administration has the ability to do that with dozens of other Americans to get them out [...] my message to them is do whatever you have to do there to survive."
The Texas native traveled to Moscow in 2019 to visit his girlfriend and study abroad, but things quickly took a dark turn after attending a party and being picked up by Russian police.
Following several interviews with agents of Russia's intelligence agency, police charged him with assaulting a police officer, an incident Reed said never happened. His legal team maintained video evidence showed no assault.
After a sham of a trial lasting some eight days, a Russian court sentenced Reed to serve nine years, as U.S. officials quickly condemned the decision as purely based on international politics.
"Today, U. S. citizen Trevor Reed was convicted in a Russian court following a trial in which the prosecution’s case and the evidence presented against Mr. Reed were so preposterous that they provoked laughter in the courtroom. Even the judge laughed," U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said in a statement following Reed's conviction.
The ex-service member spent 985 days in Russian prisons that he previously said resembled something "out of medieval times."
In his interview, Reed said his interactions with the guards were the worst, and that as he grew sicker and spent more time in isolation he thought the end was near.
"For the last couple of months, I probably didn't have very long to live there. I wasn't receiving medical treatment, coughing up blood every day. I was loosing so much weight at that time I was like, 'Okay, I'm probably not going to make it.'"
Russian officials freed Reed on April 27 as part of a prisoner swap in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot from Russia serving a 20 year sentence in the U.S. for drug smuggling charges.
"The whole thing was extremely surreal. You think is this real, or am I going to wake up on the floor of solitary confinement tomorrow," said Reed of the prisoner swap.
Reed has spent the last several months recovering, including time in a San Antonio military hospital, after suffering from several illnesses during his imprisonment.
He hopes to finish college soon, and says he's still interested in working for the government at some point.
Tune in Friday night for more with Reed.