MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court on Monday rejected an imprisoned American's appeal against his nine-year sentence for assaulting police officers.

The Moscow City Court upheld the sentence issued last year by a lower court, which convicted Trevor Reed for an altercation in August 2019 in Moscow, where he was studying Russian and visiting his girlfriend.

Reed was accused of assaulting police officers who were driving him to a police station after picking him up following a night of heavy drinking at a party. The United States has sought his release, saying the evidence against him was weak.

Asked about Reed in a recent interview with NBC News, Russian President Vladimir Putin called him a “drunk and a troublemaker.”

Reed was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May. Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy protested the lack of consular access to him during his hospitalization and said he had been repeatedly denied phone calls to his family or embassy personnel.

Reed is one of two Americans imprisoned in Russia under controversial circumstances. Paul Whelan, a former corporate security executive who also holds Canadian, Irish and British citizenship, was arrested in Moscow in 2018, convicted of espionage and sentenced to 16 years. His lawyer has said his client was handed a flash drive that had classified information on it that he didn’t know about.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Whelan and Reed are being “wrongfully imprisoned” in Russia and raised their plight with Putin at their summit in Geneva earlier this month.