Dennis Rodman Speaks About Otto Warmbier's Release


Former NBA player Dennis Rodman has opened up about his role in getting American student Otto Warmbier released from North Korea.

During a joint interview, Chris Volo, Rodman's agent, said that the NBA star's visit to Pyongyang in June helped secure Otto's release, People reports.

"I asked on behalf of Dennis for [Otto's] release three times," said Volo. "I know being there had something to do with it. Because when I was organizing the trip ... and I meet with the delegates here, you know I addressed ... Otto Warmbier. I said to them, 'We... would need his... release, some type of good faith' ... They said they understood."

When the college student was released, he was in a coma that North Korean authorities said came about after he experienced botulism and took a sleeping pill. American doctors who examined him found signs instead of brain damage possibly caused by a traumatic injury.

Otto died just a few days after he was flown back to America.

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Rodman said he had no idea about the young man's condition, Daily Mail reports.

"I was just so happy to see the kid released," said Rodman. "Later that day, that's when we found out he was ill, no one knew that."

Rodman added that he wished to "give all the prayer and love" to Otto's family. He reportedly attempted to set up a meeting with the family, but the invitation was not accepted.

According to Fred Warmbier, Otto's father, and the State Department, Rodman's visit to Pyongyang did not play a part in Otto's release.

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"Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto returning to the United States," said Fred.

President Donald Trump has called the student's death a "disgrace."

North Korean officials denied claims that Otto had been tortured while he was in the country.

"The fact that [Otto] died suddenly in less than a week after his return to the U.S. in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well," said a North Korean spokesman. "To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident."

Rodman has previously traveled to North Korea in 2013, where he met leader Kim Jong-un, saying that he was a "good kid." He even suggested that the North Korean leader call then-President Barack Obama, because the two shared a love for basketball, according to The Sun.

"My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries," Rodman said in an interview. "Why it's been left to me to smooth things over, I don't know."

Sources: Daily Mail, People, The Sun / Photo credit: Walter Huang/Flickr, Driver Photographer/Flickr, Marian.Mizdrea/Flickr

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