WNBA star Brittney Griner appeared in a Moscow courtroom for the second straight day Friday and said her legal team presented new evidence that would help explain why she entered Russia with the cannabis product that led to her arrest.
His trial resumed Thursday, nearly a week after Griner’sAnalysts say this could be his best chance for a final pardon, or at least a compromise, given the Russian judiciary’s near-perfect conviction rate.
Maria Blagovolina, one of the attorneys representing Griner, said her legal team presented evidence Friday, including “characteristic materials, medical records and tax returns.” Among the medical documents was a doctor’s prescription for a substance Griner admitted to having mistakenly brought to Russia while packing his bags in a hurry.
Friday was the fourth hearing in the Phoenix Mercury player’s trial. He faces up to 10 years in prison for drug possession and smuggling. Griner has already spent nearly five months in jail after being detained at a Moscow airport with what prosecutors say were cigarette cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil.
His guilty plea was largely seen as a bid by the legal team to get a verdict as soon as possible and avoid a prolonged trial, as Moscow is unlikely to respond to any attempt by Washington to release him before the trial is over. played.
The Biden administration considers the basketball star “wrongfully detained,” and legal experts believe Griner’s best chance to walk free is if Russia and the United States agree to a prisoner exchange.
At Thursday’s hearing, Moscow warned against any pressure, especially public pressure, on the United States to secure Griner’s release.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We call on the US government not to speculate on such sensitive issues that affect the fate of specific people, and we advise them to refrain from vain attempts to pressure us and focus on practical work through established channels.” press briefing on Thursday.
“Griner’s court proceedings are ongoing, and until they are concluded, it is too early to discuss the options for his return home,” added Zakharova.
Russian media speculated that the Kremlin would try to swap Griner for Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer known as the “Death Merchant” who has been in prison in the United States since 2008. A man serving 27 years in prison for cyber fraud in the United States.
At Thursday’s hearing, the court heard from defense witnesses who testified about Griner’s character. Maksim Ryabkov, head of the Russian basketball club UMMC Ekaterinburg, where Griner played during the off-season in the United States, said that during the 7 years he worked with Griner, he never “saw or heard” that Griner was using drugs.
Team captain Yevgenia Belyakova testified in court that Griner is a “responsible person” and that she believes it would be impossible for Griner to use drugs and perform for the team given their demanding schedule.
On Friday, the judge scheduled the next hearing for July 26. The defense asked for a week to meet with Griner to help him prepare to testify.
Brittney Griner’s attorneys present medical cannabis prescription as evidence in Russian court
Source link Brittney Griner’s attorneys present medical cannabis prescription as evidence in Russian court