Britney Griner testifies in support of Russian basketball figures at latest hearing

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Britney Griner finds support According to the lawyer of the detained WNBA superstar, the trial of Russian basketball figures resumed on Thursday.

Maxim Ryabkov, director of Griner’s Team Russia UMMC Yekaterinburgand team captain Evgenia Belyakova testified in defense of the basketball star, Maria Blagovolina told reporters after the end of the hearing, Reuters reports.

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WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 7, 2022.

WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 7, 2022.
(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Blagovolina said that Ryabkov told the court about Griner’s “outstanding abilities as a player and his personal contribution to strengthening the team spirit.”

Blagovolina said the defense was pleased with how the hearing went and that another hearing was scheduled for Friday.

“It was an extremely emotional day for Britney, who was touched by the arrival of the club director, chief medical officer and her teammate who described our client in a very positive way both personally and professionally,” she said.

WNBA ALL STARS READ BRITNEY GRAINER DURING THE GAME: “SHE IS OUR SISTER”

FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, 42, shoots during the first half of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky, Oct. 20.  October 10, 2021 in Phoenix.

FILE – Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, 42, shoots during the first half of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky, Oct. 20. October 10, 2021 in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, file)

Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession last week. She was accused of smuggling e-cigarette cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils through Moscow airport in February.. Since then, she has been in custody. The application does not end the trial. Testimony was given in the hope of a reduced sentence. She could face up to 10 years in prison in Russia.

Last week’s guilty plea could be used as a tactic to speed up the trial, so there could be potential prisoner swap talks. Russian officials have said no exchanges can take place until the end of the trial.

WNBA American basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at Khimki Court near Moscow on July 7, 2022.  — Griner, a two-time Olympian and WNBA champion, was detained at a Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage, which could lead to 10 years in prison.

WNBA American basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at Khimki Court near Moscow on July 7, 2022. — Griner, a two-time Olympian and WNBA champion, was detained at a Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage, which could lead to 10 years in prison.
(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

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Griner’s detention was authorized until December. 20, suggesting that the lawsuit could last several months. Griner’s lawyers said they expect the case to be concluded in early August.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.