WNBA star Brittany Griner appeared in a Moscow courtroom Friday for the second day in a row, and her legal team said she presented new evidence to help explain why she entered Russia with a cannabis product that caused He was arrested.
Her trial resumed on Thursday, nearly a week after GrinerBefore the court, which analysts believe may be his best chance of securing an eventual pardon, or at least leniency, given the nearly perfect conviction rate of the Russian court system.
Maria Blagovolina, one of the attorneys representing Griner, said her legal team had presented evidence on Friday including “specialty materials, medical records and tax returns.” Medical documentation contained a doctor’s prescription for a substance that Griner admitted to having accidentally brought into Russia because he had packed his bag in haste.
Friday was the fourth hearing in the Phoenix Mercury player’s trial. He is facing up to 10 years in prison on drug possession and trafficking charges. Prosecutors say Griner has already spent nearly five months in custody after being detained at a Moscow airport with a vape cartridge containing cannabis-derived oil.
His confession was seen as a bid by his legal team to make an expeditious decision and prevent the trial from being dragged out, as any attempt by Washington to secure his release until a court process by Moscow. Not likely to answer. old.
The Biden administration considers the basketball star “wrongfully detained” and legal experts believe Griner’s best chance of running free is if Russia and the US agree to a prisoner swap. can.
As she appeared for Thursday’s hearing, Moscow warned the US not to exert any particularly public pressure to secure Griner’s release.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We urge the US government not to speculate on sensitive matters that affect the fate of specific people, and we encourage us to pressurize and take practical actions through established channels.” Recommend to avoid wasted efforts to concentrate. A press briefing on Thursday.
“Greiner’s legal proceedings are ongoing, and until they are finished, it is too early to discuss any option for him to return home,” Zakharova said.
Russian media speculated that the Kremlin would try to exchange Griner for Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer known as a “merchant of death” who has been in US custody since 2008. Another name floated by Russian authorities is that of Roman Seleznev, who is serving a 27-year prison sentence in the US for cyber fraud.
At Thursday’s hearing, the court heard defense witnesses who testified to Griner’s character. Maxim Ryabkov, head of Russian basketball club UMMC Ekaterinburg, where Griner plays during the US off-season, said he had never “seen or heard” him using drugs in the seven years he worked with Griner.
The team’s captain, Evgenia Belikova, testified at the hearing that Griner was a “responsible person” and added that she believed it would have been impossible for Griner to use drugs and perform on the team, their demanding sport. Looking at the program.
On Friday, the judge fixed the next hearing for July 26. The defense had asked for a week to meet with Griner to help prepare to testify.