Brittney Griner’s trial on hashish possession prices continued in Russia on Friday, with the WNBA star’s attorneys telling the court docket that she has a health care provider’s suggestion to make use of medical pot. Griner was arrested at an airport close to Moscow in February after customs brokers reportedly discovered vape cartridges containing lower than one gram of hashish oil in her baggage as she made her approach by a safety checkpoint. If convicted, she faces as much as 10 years in jail.
At a listening to on Friday, her protection workforce submitted proof that might elicit leniency from the court docket, together with documentation that she has a health care provider’s suggestion to make use of medical hashish in america. The protection additionally submitted proof that Griner had not too long ago handed an anti-doping drug screening, with no prohibited substances present in her system.
“The protection in the present day supplied written proof, together with character supplies, medical paperwork and tax returns,” Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, told Reuters.
“Among the many medical paperwork is a health care provider’s notice for the substance that Brittney Griner inadvertently left amongst her belongings when crossing the border,” she mentioned.
Griner’s attorneys additionally famous that the advice to make use of hashish medicinally had been sanctioned by the state authorities in Arizona, the place she is the star heart for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
“The attending doctor gave Brittney suggestions for using medical hashish,” Blagovolina added. “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Division of Well being.”
Griner’s trial started on July 1 in a courtroom in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow the place the airport is situated. She pleaded guilty on July 7 to the fees she faces, though she advised the court docket that she didn’t intend to commit a criminal offense and that she had packed for her journey rapidly, unaware that the vape cartridges had been in her baggage. Whereas Griner has already pleaded responsible, her trial continues because the court docket considers the circumstances of the alleged offense.
In an announcement after Griner entered her plea, her authorized workforce mentioned that it was the WNBA star’s resolution to plead responsible to the fees, including that the transfer “units an instance of being courageous.”
“She determined to take full accountability for her actions as she is aware of that she is a task mannequin for many individuals,” the attorneys said. “Contemplating the character of her case, the insignificant quantity of the substance and BG’s character and historical past of optimistic contributions to world and Russian sport, the protection hopes that the plea shall be thought of by the court docket as a mitigating issue and there shall be no extreme sentence.”
On Thursday, a few of Griner’s teammates on the Russian basketball workforce she performs for, UMMC Ekaterinburg, addressed the court docket as character witnesses. Group captain Evgeniya Belyakova advised the court docket that Griner is “the center of our workforce,” according to a tweet from Moscow NPR correspondent Charles Maynes, and mentioned that followers in Russia “adore her.”
After the listening to, Griner’s attorneys said that UMMC Ekaterinburg director Maxim Ryabkov “gave a optimistic description of Brittney Griner throughout his speech in court docket, noting her excellent skills as a participant and private contribution to strengthening the workforce spirit, which allowed the workforce to attain the best leads to the Russian basketball premier league and in worldwide competitions for a few years.”
Griner ‘Wrongfully Detained’
The U.S. State Division has formally listed Griner as wrongfully detained and the White Home has mentioned that President Joe Biden is doing everything he can to safe her launch from Russia. Media experiences have speculated that the governments of america and Russia may finally engineer a swap of prisoners, with the American authorities maybe releasing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed “the Service provider of Dying,” who’s serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to kill U.S. residents and offering help to a terrorist group.
After Friday’s listening to, U.S. Embassy cost d’affaires Elizabeth Rood commented on the help Griner has acquired throughout her trial.
“Within the hearings yesterday and in the present day what turned very clear is the great quantity of respect and admiration each in america and right here in Russia the place Miss Griner has been enjoying basketball for seven years, not just for her skilled achievements however for her character and integrity,” she mentioned outdoors the courthouse.
Deputy International Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the senior Russian diplomat, has declined to touch upon a possible prisoner swap, noting that till her trial concludes “there are not any formal or procedural causes to speak about any additional steps.”
Ryabkov additionally warned that criticism from america, together with Griner’s standing as wrongfully detained and adverse feedback in regards to the Russian court docket system, “makes it troublesome to have interaction in detailed dialogue of any doable exchanges.”
The subsequent listening to in Griner’s trial is scheduled for July 26. Her authorized workforce has mentioned that they anticipate the trial to conclude someday in August, though her detention has been prolonged till December 20 by Russian authorities.