Brittney Griner’s Lawyers Argue for Leniency in Russian Court

Wearing a black and gray sweater with the slogan “Black Lives for Peace” on the back, former WNBA star Brittney Griner imprisoned in Russia for drug chargesappeared in a court near Moscow on Tuesday as her defense team continued to present evidence that she did not intend to break the law.

Follow video scene from the scene broadcast by Russian state television.

After being detained at Moscow airport a week before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Ms Griner became an unlikely pawn in the diplomatic game between Moscow and Washington. With her guilty plea making the ruling seem like a foregone conclusion, experts say her best hope is that the Biden administration may seek to swap her for a tall Russian. level is being held by the United States.

During the trials, her defense team argued for leniency, saying Ms Griner had no intention of smuggling the narcotics into Russia and that, like many other international athletes, she used marijuana. for pain relief from trauma.

Griner’s attorneys said a suicide specialist testified in court Tuesday to present a case that in some countries, including the United States, medical marijuana “is a popular treatment, especially for athletes.”

Maria Blagovolina, one of Griner’s lawyers and a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners, a Moscow firm, said: “With the prescription being prescribed, Brittney could have used it for that purpose. for medical purposes, but not for entertainment purposes.

At the prior hearing, the attorneys present a note from her doctor Griner suggested marijuana to treat her pain. Ms Griner is also expected to appear in court on Wednesday, when she may be called to testify.

Ms. Griner traveled to Russia because she played for a team in the country to earn extra money during off-season. Russian customs officials discovered two vape boxes containing hash oil – a derivative of cannabis – in her luggage.

Ms. Griner was arrested near Moscow and charged with knowingly smuggling vape boxes, a crime that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

On July 7, Miss Griner pleaded guilty, said that she had unintentionally brought banned substances into Russia because of the hasty packing. Russian authorities have signaled that no exchanges can take place before the verdict in court.

US officials say they are doing all they can to return Ms. Griner, alleging that she was wrongfully detained. Last week, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, said such claims were “political, biased and illegitimate.”

“If an American citizen is detained for drug trafficking and she herself does not deny it, then this is subject to Russian law, not the law passed in San Francisco.” Mrs. Zakharova said.

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