September 7th, 2011
05:21 PM ET

Exclusive: Richardson travels to Cuba in effort to free jailed American

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is going to Cuba to try to negotiate the release of jailed American contractor Alan Gross, CNN's Wolf Blitzer first reported Wednesday on 'The Situation Room'.

"We are aware of Gov. Richardson's trip to Cuba and have been in contact with him," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told CNN. "While Gov. Richardson is traveling as a private citizen, we certainly support his efforts to obtain Alan Gross' release."

"We welcome any and all dialogue that ultimately will result in Alan's release," the Gross family said in a written statement. "We are grateful to Governor Richardson for his continued efforts."

CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty recently sat down with Gross's wife who discussed how difficult her life is without him, and her fear of him never returning home. Watch Jill's report here.

–CNN Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott contributed to this report

Filed under: Cuba • Diplomacy • FIRST ON CNN/EXCLUSIVE
September 2nd, 2011
06:43 PM ET

With husband in Cuban prison, wife hopes for clemency

By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

Judy Gross sits at her dining room table at her apartment in Washington, DC, typing away at her laptop. She’s checking messages from friends and supporters and, she says, after a full day working as a clinical social worker at a suburban hospital, she often ends up spending another three or four hours at the computer every evening.

Her husband of 41 years, Alan Gross, sits in a Cuban prison, convicted of trying to subvert the Cuban government – “Acts against the territorial integrity of the state” -sentenced in May to 15 years in prison. His appeal was rejected by a Cuban court in August.

“One of my biggest fears,” she tells me, “is I'm going to get a call from my attorney one day saying Alan had a heart attack or something happened to him. I don’t know if I'll ever see him again, I don’t know if he'll step foot on US soil.”

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