KHIMKI, Russia — A attorney for WNBA big name Brittney Griner at her drug ownership trial in Russia on Friday gave the court docket a U.S. physician’s letter recommending she use scientific hashish to regard ache.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and standout for the Phoenix Mercury, was once arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February after customs officers mentioned they discovered vape canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage. She faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted on fees of transporting medicine.
In court docket closing week, Griner pleaded accountable and stated possessing the canisters however mentioned she had no legal intent and mentioned they have been in her baggage as a result of she packed swiftly in her go back to Russia to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball group throughout the WNBA’s offseason.
In Russia’s judicial gadget, admitting guilt does not mechanically finish a tribulation. Since that plea, her court docket classes have excited by in-person and written testimony to her excellent persona and athletic prowess.
Griner wore a Nirvana T-shirt as she sat within the defendant’s cage this is commonplace in Russian courtrooms. At one level, she held up a photograph of fellow WNBA avid gamers dressed in her title and No. 42 on their uniforms in tribute throughout a part of Sunday’s All-Megastar Recreation in Chicago.
“The attending doctor gave Brittney suggestions for using scientific hashish,” mentioned her attorney, Maria Blagovolina. “The permission was once issued on behalf of the Arizona Division of Well being.”
Scientific marijuana isn’t criminal in Russia.
The protection on Friday additionally submitted checks she underwent as a part of an anti-doping test, which failed to come across any prohibited elements in her gadget.
The following listening to of Griner’s case was once scheduled for July 26.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have mentioned they’re doing all they might to win her liberate, in addition to that of alternative American citizens the U.S. considers “wrongly detained” by means of Russia, together with former Marine Paul Whelan who’s serving 16 years on an espionage conviction.
Washington can have little leverage with Moscow, despite the fact that, as a result of robust animosity over its army operation in Ukraine.
“Within the hearings the day prior to this and lately what was very transparent is the super quantity of recognize and admiration each in the USA and right here in Russia the place Leave out Griner has been enjoying basketball for seven years, no longer just for her skilled achievements however for her persona and integrity,” U.S. Embassy price d’affaires Elizabeth Rood mentioned out of doors the courthouse within the Moscow suburb of Khimki, the place the airport is positioned.
The director and group captain of UMMC Ektaerinburg testified on her behalf on Thursday.
Russian media have speculated that Griner may well be swapped for Russian fingers dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed “the Service provider of Dying,” who’s serving a 25-year sentence within the U.S. after being convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. electorate and offering support to a 15 May Organization.
Russia has agitated for Bout’s liberate for years. However the broad discrepancy within the seriousness in their circumstances may make one of these industry unpalatable to Washington. Others have recommended that Griner may well be traded at the side of Whelan, who’s serving 16 years in Russia on an espionage conviction that the U.S. has described as a setup.
The State Division’s designation of Griner as wrongfully detained strikes her case below the supervision of its particular presidential envoy for hostage affairs, successfully the federal government’s leader hostage negotiator. The classification has aggravated Russia.
Requested about the potential for Griner being swapped for a Russian jailed within the U.S., Deputy International Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the senior Russian diplomat, has famous that till her trial is over “there are not any formal or procedural causes to speak about any more steps.”
Ryabkov warned that U.S. complaint, together with the outline of Griner as wrongfully detained and dismissive feedback concerning the Russian judicial gadget, “makes it tricky to have interaction in detailed dialogue of any conceivable exchanges.”
Griner’s detention has been licensed thru Dec. 20, suggesting the trial may closing months. Griner’s attorneys, alternatively, mentioned they be expecting it to conclude across the starting of August.