Lawyers told court Britney Griner was prescribed medical marijuana for ‘severe chronic pain’

Griner’s defense has submitted to a Russian court a letter from the US Medical Center granting approval in Arizona in 2020 for Griner’s use of medical cannabis to treat her chronic pain caused by sports injuries.

Also on Friday, Griner’s trial was delayed until July 26 after her lawyers said they needed more time to prepare for their next steps. Griner, 31, pleaded guilty to drug possession, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. The defense hopes that the statement will be taken into account by the court as a mitigating circumstance and the sentence will not be harsh.

“Yesterday was quite emotional for her,” lawyer Alexander Boikov told reporters in front of the courthouse after the hearing ended on Friday. “For the first time in many months, she saw her general manager, her friend and teammate Evgenia Belyakova. Now he just wants to rest.”

“She is tired,” added lawyer Maria Blagovolina. “Yesterday was very difficult for her. But everything went well.”

During hearing on ThursdayThe court heard testimony from Belyakov, captain of the UMMC Yekaterinburg team, the Russian basketball team that Griner played for during the WNBA offseason, and team director Maxim Ryabkov. Both were presented as witnesses in Griner’s defense.

Elizabeth Rude, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said in a statement that over the last two days of the hearing, “what has become abundantly clear is the great respect and admiration both in the United States and here in Russia, for whom Ms. Griner has been playing basketball for seven years, not only because of his professional achievements, but also because of his character and integrity.

Griner was arrested on February 17 at a Moscow airport and charged by Russian authorities with carrying cannabis oil in her luggage and smuggling large amounts of drugs. During the trial, the prosecutor said Griner weighed less than a gram cannabis oil, which is considered a controlled drug in Russia.

She was drug tested and was clean, her lawyers said earlier.

The doctor’s medical report is presented as evidence

The two-time U.S. Olympic basketball champion was detained the week before. Russia invaded Ukrainefueling the fears of her family and peers that she is being used as a political pawn due to escalating diplomatic tensions between Russia and the United States.

Last week, the Phoenix Mercury player said in court that she had no intention of carrying cannabis oil in her luggage, saying through her interpreter that it was because she was “in a hurry to pack,” the state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

In court on Friday, Blagovolina read out a letter from a US medical center stating: “On May 18, 2020, Britney Griner underwent a clinical examination… The patient complained of acute chronic pain due to multiple ankle injuries, as well as trauma and pain. throughout a sports career. The patient complained of pain in the middle part of the back, lower back, knees, and ankle joints.

Opinion: Why is Britney Griner so valuable to Putin

Blagovolina presented the letter in evidence, along with the results of medical tests from 2018 and a medical report from an American doctor from 2020, confirming that Griner had “a chronic debilitating disease caused by severe chronic pain.”

According to Blagovolina, Griner was advised by a doctor to use medical cannabis because of a diagnosed “chronic and debilitating disease” that “caused chronic and acute pain.”

In a written statement, Griner’s attorneys on Friday said: “The defense presented written evidence today, including identity materials, medical records and tax returns. Among the medical documents there is a doctor’s prescription for a substance that, due to an oversight, Britney Griner left among her belongings when crossing the border. Among the documents confirming the character, there are numerous letters of thanks from various organizations in Yekaterinburg, as well as letters from the US Basketball Associations, UMMC Yekaterinburg and the Basketball Federation of Russia “.

Griner’s wife, along with politicians, coaches, players and numerous WNBA supporters, loudly called for her release. She was at the forefront of Sunday’s WNBA All-Star Game in Chicago, during which Griner was named an honorary All-Star and the players wore jerseys with her name and number on the back.

“She is our sister and at the end of the day we are going to do our best to strengthen the platform we have to make sure everyone is doing what they need to make sure she gets home safely,” the player said. Las Vegas Aces Aya Wilson after the game. “It’s hard. It’s hard for all of us. It’s not easy. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Britney Griner.”

“We miss her and her energy so much”

Ryabkov told reporters after Thursday’s hearing that he testified to tell the court “what a big role she played in the success of the Yekaterinburg club and Russian women’s basketball in general with her performances in the Euroleague” and “how she raised our national rankings.” “

After testifying, Belyakova described the detained player to reporters as a “good teammate.”

“We miss her and her energy so much,” she said. “I was very happy to see her. I hope the process ends soon and ends well.”

Griner’s wife, Cherell Griner, spoke with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris last week after publicly criticizing the administration’s response to her wife’s detention. Sherel Griner told CNN in June that she wanted the White House to do more for her wife’s safe return to the US, saying she was not sure the government’s action was enough.
It has been 130 days since WNBA star Britney Griner was detained in Russia and her trial is about to begin.  Her wife wants US authorities to do more to bring her home
AT handwritten letter delivered to BidenBrittney Griner pleaded with the President to keep fighting for the return of her and other American prisoners.

“(As) I’m sitting here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or any accomplishments, I’m afraid I might be here forever,” she wrote. in a statement released by a communications company representing the Griner family.

“On July 4th, our family usually honors those who fought for our freedom, including my father, a Vietnam War veteran. It pains me to think about how I usually celebrate this day, because on this day, freedom means something completely different to me. year,” she wrote.

It was Griner’s decision to plead guilty, according to her legal team, whose statement said she “decided to take full responsibility for her actions as she knows she is a role model for many people.”

In addition to Greener, US citizen Paul Whelan detained in Russia after being arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of espionage, which he vehemently denies.

Following the conversation with Cherell Greener, the White House released a transcript of the conversation highlighting the president’s efforts to communicate with the families of American prisoners.

“The President directed his Homeland Security team to maintain regular contact with the Cherell and Britney families, as well as other families of Americans taken hostage or illegally detained abroad, to keep them informed of efforts to speedily release their loved ones. “, the White House said in a statement.

CNN’s Abby Phillip, Frederic Pleitgen, Betsy Klein, Dakin Andone, Alaa Elassar, Chris Liakos, Tara John, Rosa Flores, Jacqueline Rose, Alexa Miranda, Ben Church, and Homero De la Fuente contributed to this report.