Wife pleads with Biden for help in freeing Navy husband

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — Brittany Alkonis, the wife of a U.S. Navy lieutenant sentenced to three years in a Japanese prison, is fighting to get the government to help her husband.

Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis has been sitting in a Japanese prison for months, following a fatal car crash.

On Friday, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held wide-ranging talks at the White House as Japan looks to build security cooperation with allies in a time of provocative Chinese and North Korean military action.

Brittany was outside the White House protesting that Biden would at least acknowledge her husband while in the presence of Kishida.

“There would be no better time… which is why I’m here. That is why I flew thousands of miles, and why many of our other family and friends did so as well. If it’s not going to be addressed now, I don’t believe it’s going to,” Brittany said during an appearance Friday night on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.”

It’s an ongoing fight she said she never thought she’d have to take on.

“Thanksgiving was rough, but Christmas was unbearable. Especially in Japan, mid December, everyone starts coming back from deployment… So my children and their classes, they’re watching all their friends’ dads come home so that they can be there for Christmas. My daughter came to me and she said ‘Daddy’s not coming home.’ It’s not easy,” Brittany said.

Ridge was sentenced three years in prison after killing two people and severely injuring a third in a car accident that he and his family say was caused by a medical emergency.

In May 2021, Ridge was driving with his wife and children when he lost consciousness and control of his car, which drifted and crashed, killing an 85-year-old woman and her son-in-law, according to Ridge’s family.

The 34-year-old said he was struck with a case of altitude sickness which was supported by a neurologist’s diagnosis, but a panel of three Japanese judges said it was unlikely and maintained he fell asleep and should’ve pulled over. Ridge agreed to pay the victims’ families $1.6 million but the panel still decided to sentence him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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