Brittany Greener: Closing arguments expected in Russia’s WNBA star’s drug-trafficking trial

Brittany Greener: Closing arguments expected in Russia’s WNBA star’s drug-trafficking trial


The trial in Khimki City Court comes six months after Griner, 31, was arrested at a Moscow airport and charged by Russian prosecutors with attempted smuggling. Less than 1 gram Cannabis oil in her bag. She faces up to 10 years in prison.
A two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist who also plays for the Russian team during the WNBA season; He pleaded guilty Her lawyers, who indicted her on drug charges last month, said it was an attempt to take responsibility and receive leniency if she was ultimately convicted and sentenced.
“Given the nature of her case, the seriousness of the content, and (Griner’s) personality and history of positive contributions to international and Russian sports, the defense hopes that the charges will be considered mitigating in court. No harsh punishment.” Her legal team said last month..

The defense also tried to undermine the prosecution’s case. On Tuesday, during the seventh hearing of her case, a defense expert said that the substance contained in Griner’s vape cartridges did not comply with Russian law.

Substance testing in Britney Greener's vape cartridges violated Russian law, defense expert says

Forensic chemist Dmitry Gladyshev testified during the approximately two-hour session that “the test does not comply with the law in terms of the completeness of the study and does not comply with the rules of the criminal law.”

Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dayakin & Partners law firm and a member of Griner’s defense team, told CNN that her team’s experts identified “a few flaws” in the machines used to measure the material.

At trial, Griner said she had a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia. She was drug tested after her arrest in February and has been cleared, her lawyers have previously said.

The US State Department said Greener had been wrongfully detained, and her supporters called for her release and called on the US to take further action to free her from the country. Part of a planned prisoner exchange.

“She’s still focused and she’s still worried. And she still knows the end is near, and of course she heard the news so she hopes she can come home one day, and we hope so,” Blagovolina said Tuesday. She said a ruling on the case would come “soon,” possibly Thursday.

How did the trial go?

In court on Tuesday, Greener sat in the courtroom in the defendant’s room. Elizabeth Rhode, the head of the US Embassy in Moscow, attended the hearing and said the United States “will continue to support Ms. Griner through every step of this process and as long as it is necessary to bring her home to the United States.” safely.”

Greiner’s attorneys made some arguments that the basketball player’s arrest was improperly handled. February 17 after being stopped by staff at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Her arrest, search and detention were “wrong,” one of her lawyers, Alexander Boykov, said last week, adding that more details would be revealed during closing arguments.

Greener after stopping at the airport Documents have been signed She testified that she did not fully understand. She said she initially used Google Translate on her phone but was moved to another room where her phone was taken and she was made to sign more documents.

Griner was not provided with an attorney and was not informed of her rights. These rights include access to a lawyer once arrested and the right to know the suspect. According to Russian law, she had to be informed of her rights within three hours of her arrest.

CNN Exclusive: Biden Administration Offers Guilty Russian Arms Dealer Instead of Griner, Whelan

In her testimony, Greiner “explained to the court that she knew and respected Russian laws and never intended to violate them,” Blagovolina said after last week’s hearing.

“We insist that she carelessly, hastily, carried her luggage and did not pay attention to the fact that substances approved for use in the United States entered the Russian Federation in this luggage,” Boikov. There is a Moscow Law Center.

The hearing was held in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the country’s conflict with the United States and Europe.

Last week, CNN reported that the administration of President Joe Biden He proposed a prisoner exchange with RussiaHe offered to release convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner and another American prisoner. Paul Whelan. Russian authorities He opposed the American offerU.S. officials have rejected the request as a legitimate repatriation request, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The Kremlin warned on Tuesday that the US’s “megaphone diplomacy” will not help negotiations on the exchange of prisoners involving Greener. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow believes these talks should be “transparent”.

Griner’s family, fans and WNBA teammates continue to express messages of solidarity and hope as they await the conclusion of the trial. Her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, is expected to play the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night at 7 pm ET.

Before the trial last week, the WNBA Players Association He tweeted.“Dear BG … it’s early in Moscow, our day ends and yours is just beginning. Not a day, not an hour goes by without you in our minds and hearts.”

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Travis Caldwell, Dakin Andon, Kylie Atwood, Evan Perez, Jennifer Hansler, Natasha Bertrand, Fredrik Pleitgen, Chris Liakos and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.



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