The trial of WNBA star Brittany Griner continued in Moscow on Tuesday, with her defense team offering additional evidence to support their position that basketball players brought oil cartridges filled with cannabis to Russia by accident.
Griner’s attorneys submitted negative drug tests, and a drug expert testified that repeated marijuana users would continue to test positive even after last use.
The expert, Mikhail Tetyushkin, said that medical marijuana is increasingly common in countries around the world, including the United States. He said it is often used by athletes to ease pain after sustaining physical trauma, supporting the defense’s argument that Griner had only used cannabis for medical purposes under a doctor’s supervision. .
“It is clear that if use is continuous, it affects the nervous system, impairs the speed of reaction and thinking, impairs the ability to perform physical activity and highly coordinated movements, so professional athletes use them at all times. Can’t use it,” Tetyushkin told reporters after the hearing.
“The defense position is not that Brittany was allowed to bring a banned substance into Russia. We insist that she inadvertently – while packing her suitcase in a hurry – did not notice that there was a need for use in the United States.” The substances allowed for the crime ended up in this suitcase. And arrived in the Russian Federation. He didn’t do it intentionally,” Alexander Boykov, one of Griner’s lawyers, said after the hearing.
Boykov said he expects “a very lenient decision” in Griner’s case “given the number of disruptive circumstances”.
Griner, a two-time Olympic champion, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her bag. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of drug trafficking.
Griner wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden urging him to secure his release. with himto the charges, but she says she had no intention of breaking the law.
The US has officially labeled Griner as “wrongfully detained”.
Griner’s trial comes amid one of the lowest points in US-Russian relations over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian media had speculated that Griner’s best bet would be to return home if Moscow and Washington agree to a prisoner swap. The Kremlin indicated that they would be interested in the release of Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death”, who has been in US custody since 2008.
Griner will be cross-examined at the next hearing on Wednesday.