Trevor Reed speaks out: ‘I remember thinking, is this real?’

ABC News’ Patrick Reevell sat down with former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was recently released from a Russian prison, to talk about his ordeal and what he hopes is next for Americans held there.
8:14 | 05/24/22

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Transcript for Trevor Reed speaks out: ‘I remember thinking, is this real?’
LANGLEY WAS CHARGED WITH SIMPLE ASSAULT. NEXT OUR INTERVIEW WITH TREVOR REED, AND THE EX MARINE WHO SPENT NEARLY THREE YEARS IN A RUSSIAN PRISON, NOW SPEAKING OUT AFTER HIS RELEASE, IN EXCHANGE FOR A RUSSIAN SPENDING TIME HERE IN THE U.S.. OUR PATRICK REEVELL WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THIS CASE FOR US SINCE THE BEGINNING, RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH REED AND HIS FAMILY ABOUT LIFE AFTER THE PRISON. >> AFTER 985 DAYS IMPRISONED BY RUSSIA. TREVOR REED IS FINALLY FREE. I REMEMBER THINKING, IS THIS REAL? >> YOU ARE THINKING MAYBE THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. MAYBE I'M STILL GOING TO WAKE UP IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. >> THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE SAT ACROSS FROM EACH OTHER IN TALKING. WE ARE NOT LOOKING THROUGH THE BARS OF A CAGE. >> EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE 30-YEAR-OLD FORMER MARINE FREED IN A DRAMATIC PRISONER EXCHANGE BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE U.S.. TRADED FOR A RUSSIAN KICKS VICTIM U.S. ON DRUG SMUGGLING CHARGES A DECADE AGO. THE TREE TAKING PLACE ON A RUNWAY, A COAL -- >> I REMEMBER LOOKING AT HIM AND HE LOOKED OVER AT ME. PROBABLY HAD THAT SAME FEELING, THE SAME THOUGHT, THAT'S WHAT THAT GUY LOOKS LIKE? >> THERE REED WAS A PRESIDENTIAL MARINE WHO ONCE GUARDED PRESIDENT OBAMA. HIS NIGHTMARE BEGAN IN SUMMER OF 2019 WHILE VISITING HIS GIRLFRIEND IN MOSCOW. AFTER A DRUNKEN PARTY, READ FELL INTO THE HANDS OF RUSSIAN POLICE WHO CHARGED HIM WITH ATTACKING AN OFFICER. IN REALITY, HE AND U.S. OFFICIALS SAY THE CASE WAS FABRICATED BY RUSSIA'S SECURITY SERVICE TO TAKE REED AS A BARGAINING CHIP. >> I ASKED ONE OF THOSE OFFICERS, I SAID, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS FALSE ACCUSATION AGAINST ME? >> HE LOOKED AROUND OF THE DOOR TO MAKE SURE THERE WAS NO ONE THERE. HE LOOKED AT THE OTHER POLICE OFFICER. HE SAID, WE DIDN'T WANT TO WRITE THIS. THEY TOLD US TO WRITE THIS. >> SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS IN PRISON, REED WAS SENT TO A FORCED LABOR CAMP, SUBJECTED TO HARSH TREATMENT, PLACED REPEATEDLY IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. HE WENT FOR MULTIPLE HUNGER STRIKES, REFUSING TO WORK FOR HIS CAPTORS. >> I DECIDED RIGHT AWAY THAT I WAS NEVER GOING TO BE PART OF THAT PROCESS, THEY WERE NOT GOING TO MAKE ONE RUBLE OFF OF ME. WHATEVER PUNISHMENT I RECEIVED FOR THAT, IT WAS WORTH IT TO ME. I DIDN'T CARE. THE PRISON, IN GENERAL WAS VERY DIRTY. DILAPIDATED. RATS. IT LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF A FILM THAT YOU WATCH ABOUT PRISONS 1000 YEARS AGO. IT REALLY IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. JUST ANCIENT. AS WELL, APPARENTLY, AS THE COURT SYSTEM. THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM. IT'S COLD THERE. THERE IS JUST HOT WATER PIPE BASICALLY THAT YOU HAVE TO USE TO STAY WARM. IF YOU LAY DOWN, WHILE YOU ARE IN THEIR, THEY WILL EXTEND YOUR TIME IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. >> THAT MUST HAVE BEEN HARD, PSYCHOLOGICALLY, TO BE IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. IT >> WAS DIFFICULT. BUT, YOU KNOW, I WASN'T GOING TO LET THAT CHANGE MY ACTIONS. IT WAS PRETTY TERRIBLE. BLOOD ON WALLS, CRAP ON THE FLOORS, ALSO ON THE WALLS. THE GUARDS TREATED THOSE PRISONERS LIKE ANIMALS. THE MEDICAL PERSONNEL THERE, AS WELL, COMPLETELY UNPROFESSIONAL. >> WERE YOU AFRAID YOU MIGHT BE KEPT THERE INDEFINITELY? >> ABSOLUTELY. I WAS AFRAID OF THAT. I THOUGHT THAT MAYBE THEY HAD SENT ME THERE TO CHEMICALLY DISABLE ME. GIVE ME SAID IT IS, OR WHATEVER. MAKE ME UNABLE TO FIGHT. >> TURN YOU INTO VAGUE VEGETABLE, BASICALLY? >> YEAH, THAT WAS WHEN I WAS AFRAID OF. THAT WAS ONE OF MY BIGGEST FEARS, THE WHOLE TIME I WAS IN PRISON. >> BUT REED'S FAMILY NEVER GIVING UP. HIS FATHER, JOEY, SPENDING OVER A YEAR ALONE IN RUSSIA. REPEATEDLY DEMONSTRATING OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE. DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST THING YOU SAID TO TREVOR? >> I SAID I LOVE YOU. I'M SO GLAD YOU ARE HOME. WE LET ME GIVE YOU A KISS AND HUG. A LONG, LONG HUG. >> REED FIRST UNDERGOING INTENSIVE COUNSELING ON A MILITARY BASE, IN TEXAS. LAST WEEK, DISCHARGED. WILL >> THEY GOT US ALL DAY LONG AGAIN. WE ARE LOVING. >> I -- >> OWE MY, GOD PUT ME BACK IN PRISON. I DON'T KNOW. >> HOW ARE YOU FINDING ADJUSTING TO LIFE AT THE MOMENT? >> JUST BEING FREE, IT FEELS DIFFERENT. TRYING TO GET USED TO BEING FREE AGAIN. IT'S LIKE HAVING THIS HUGE WEIGHT LIFTED OFF OF YOU. >> BUT REED HIMSELF CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT ANOTHER EX MARINE LEFT BEHIND IN RUSSIA. PAUL WHELAN, HELD HOSTAGE THERE FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS ON TRUMPED UP ESPIONAGE CHARGES. >> I THOUGHT, WHEN I FOUND OUT IT WAS AN EXCHANGE HAPPENING, THEY HAD PROBABLY EXCHANGED PAUL WHELAN AS WELL. >> WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU HEARD THAT PAUL WASN'T COMING HOME? >> SORRY. I THOUGHT THAT THAT WAS WRONG. THAT THEY GOT ME OUT AND NOT PAUL. SORRY. I KNEW THAT AS SOON I WAS ABLE TO, I WOULD FIGHT FOR HIM TO GET OUT. I WOULD DO EVERYTHING I COULD TO GET HIM OUT OF THERE, -- THE UNITED STATES GOT ME OUT, BUT THEY LEFT HIM THERE. I CAN'T DESCRIBE TO YOU HOW PAINFUL THAT FEELING IS. >> REED NOW DETERMINED TO HELP GET WHELAN OUT, AND BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA STAR HELD IN MOSCOW SINCE FEBRUARY ON DRUG CHARGES. WHO THE STATE DEPARTMENT CONSIDERS WRONGFULLY DETAINED. RUSSIA HAS FLOATED THE NOTORIOUS ARMS DEALER, WE VIKTOR BOUT, AS A POTENTIAL TRADE FOR WE WHELAN OR GRINER. ABSOLUTELY, VICTOR BOOT HAS ALREADY BEEN IN PRISON FOR 15 YEARS. THAT'S FOR VICTOR BUTTE, I DON'T CARE. I DON'T CARE IF IT'S 100 OF HIM, THEY HAVE TO GET OUR GUYS OUT. >> AND PATRICK REVOLT JOINS US NOW ON SET, PATRICK, OUR TEAM HAS ALSO CAUGHT UP WITH A MAN WHO TREVOR WAS SWAPPED OUT FOR. WHAT DID HE HAVE TO SAY? >> YES, KONSTANTIN YAROSHENKO, THE MAN THAT WAS TRADED FOR TREVOR. HE WAS SENTENCED IN 2011, HE WAS CAUGHT IN A DA STAYING. HE IS VERY HAPPY TO BE FREEING, BUT HE IS NEVER ACCEPTED THAT HE WAS GUILTY. HE NEVER FELT THAT THE DA SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HIM, YOU FEEL LIKE HE WAS TRAPPED. HE WAS ACCUSING THE DEA OF FABRICATING HIS CASE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, HE SAID THAT HE WAS GLAD THAT TREVOR WAS VERY, AND SAID THAT HE WANTED MORE PEOPLE TO BE TRADED. >> BEYOND JUST YOU ARE SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW, THE FORMALITY OF THAT WITH TREVOR. WHAT DID YOU OBSERVE WITH HIM, WITH YOUR TIME WITH HIM AS FAR AS HIS HEALTH, AND SPIRIT IN GENERAL? >> YOU KNOW, I WOULD SAY THAT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, HE LOOKS LIKE HE IS STARTING TO RECOVER, HE HAS COLOR IN HIS CHEEKS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE SPOTTED, HE WAS WEARING SUNGLASSES ALL OF THE TIME. IT WAS BECAUSE HE IS NOT USED TO HAVING THE SUNLIGHT, AND THE FLORIDA SUNLIGHT WAS ACTUALLY MAKING HIS EYES HEARD. HE WAS SO USED TO BEING IN THESE DARK, DANK PRISONS IN RUSSIA. THAT HE SIMPLY CANNOT REALLY BEAR IT AT THE MOMENT. OVERALL, HE WAS IN PRETTY GOOD SPIRITS, HE SMILED, HE LAUGHED. AND YOU COULD SEE THAT HE WANTS NOW, TO START TRYING TO WORK OUT HOW HE GOES BACK TO NORMAL LIFE. >> GOOD TO HEAR THAT. THANK YOU SO MUCH, PATRICK, FOR ALL OF YOUR REPORTING. FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, WE APPRECIATE IT. >> THANKS, LINDSEY. >> BE SURE TO CATCH OUR IN-DEPTH SPECIAL, 985 DAYS, THE TREVOR REED INTERVIEW. IT DEBUTS AT

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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