Britney Griner’s lawyers seek leniency in Russian court

Wearing a black and gray sweatshirt with the slogan “Black Lives for Peace” on the back of Britney Griner, WNBA star, detained in Russia on charges of drug possessionappeared before a Moscow Region court on Tuesday as her defense continued to present evidence that she did not intend to break the law.

She was escorted into the courtroom by a group of policemen, one of whom was wearing a balaclava, and she stood in a metal cage with photographs of her relatives, teammates and friends. video footage from the scene, published by Russian state television.

After being detained at a Moscow airport a week before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Griner became an unlikely pawn in a diplomatic game between Moscow and Washington. Because her guilty plea made the verdict a foregone conclusion, experts said her greatest hope was that the Biden administration could find a way to trade her for a high-profile Russian held by the United States.

During court hearings, her defense advocated leniency, stating that Ms Griner did not intend to smuggle drugs into Russia and, like many other international athletes, used cannabis to ease the pain of her injuries.

On Tuesday, the narcologist appeared in court. Griner’s lawyers said that in some countries, including the United States, medical cannabis “is a popular treatment, especially among athletes.”

“Given the recipe, Britney may have used it for medical purposes, but not for recreational purposes,” said Maria Blagovolina, one of the mrs. Griner’s lawyers and partner at the Moscow-based firm Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners.

At the previous meeting, lawyers submitted a note from Ms. Doctor Griner recommends cannabis for pain relief. Mrs. Griner was also expected to appear in court on Wednesday, when she could be called to testify.

Mrs. Griner went to Russia because she played for a local team to earn extra money during the off-season. Russian customs officers found two e-cigarette cartridges filled with hash oil, a cannabis derivative, in her luggage.

Mrs. Griner was taken into custody in the Moscow region and charged with the deliberate smuggling of vape cartridges, which can lead to up to 10 years in prison.

July 7 Grinner pleaded guilty to the charges, stating that she had inadvertently smuggled a banned substance into Russia because she packed in a hurry. The Russian authorities have made it clear that a possible exchange is not possible until the verdict is delivered in court.

US officials have said they are doing everything they can to get the lady back. Griner went home, claiming that she had been wrongfully detained. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week that such statements are “political, biased and illegitimate.”

“If an American was detained on charges of drug trafficking and she herself does not deny it, then this should be in accordance with Russian law, and not the laws adopted in San Francisco,” Mrs. Zakharova said.