What we learned from the trial of Britney Griner in Russia after her last testimony

Griner’s arrest was wrongful, lawyers say

After Sheremetyevo International Airport staff stopped her on February 17 and asked her to open her bags, Griner’s luggage was found to contain what amounted to less than one gram or cannabis oil, according to Russian prosecutors.
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There was no lawyer, Griner testified, and she stated that she was not explained her rights, which, according to Russian law, should have happened within three hours. These rights will include her right to know what she is suspected of and the right to have access to a lawyer from the moment she is detained, including the possibility of a face-to-face meeting before she is first interrogated by the authorities.

According to her, Greener signed documents she did not understand, and she had to use Google Translate on her phone to try to understand what was happening.

Griner’s detention, search, and arrest were “wrongful,” Alexander Boikov, one of her lawyers, said Wednesday. More details will be revealed during the final debate, which is expected to take place “in about a couple of weeks,” he said.

She testified that she did not know that the oil was in her bag.

According to her testimony, the two-time Olympian knew about Russian drug laws and had cannabis oil in her luggage due to “stress packing” in the rush.

“I still don’t understand how they ended up in my bags,” Griner said.

Griner “verified that she has a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis,” which “is a fairly popular treatment among professional athletes. She stressed that she never planned to bring it to Russia and use it, ”she told reporters after the rumor.

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Griner said the knee injury left her in a wheelchair for four months, and she used the substance to treat sore knees and ankles. She also emphasized that she did not use it before tournaments to prevent possible disqualifications.

“No, I would never take that risk. I never wanted to hurt my team,” Griner said. She was drug testedher lawyers had previously said and was clean.

According to Blagovolina, Griner “explained to the court that she knew and respected Russian laws and never intended to violate them.” According to Blagovolina, Griner also told the court that she enjoyed playing basketball in Russia during the WNBA off-season and that her club, UMMC Yekaterinburg, had become her second home.

“We continue to insist that she, through negligence, in a hurry, packed her suitcase and did not pay attention to the fact that substances approved for use in the United States ended up in this suitcase and arrived in the Russian Federation,” Boikov said. .

U.S. authorities say prisoner exchange is proposed

Against the backdrop of Griner’s detention and trial, months of internal debate within the Biden administration culminated in a U.S. offer to trade Griner and Whelan, both jailed in Russia. condemned USA as unfair — with a convicted arms dealer Victor Boutpeople briefed on the matter tell CNN.
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Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Biden “was directly involved” and signed the offer “submitted to Moscow” but declined to provide further details or details. confirm booth as part of the offer. Blinken said he also intends to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the coming days, their first conversation since then. Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, when asked about the proposal on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “There is no agreement yet on this issue.”

“Look, since now there are no agreements that would be finalized, then, accordingly, I have nothing more to add to what has been said,” Peskov said.

According to them, lawyers Griner Blagovolina and Boikov learned about the possible exchange from the news. Although they did not participate in these discussions, they stated that they would welcome any productive results.

“From a legal point of view, the exchange is possible only after the court issues a verdict. In any case, we would be very happy if Britney can return home, and we hope that this will happen soon, ”they said.

Griner is due to return to the Khimki District Court on August 2.

“Really good chances” of being released, says Friday American.

Since the proposed swap went public, officials say the families have been aware of certain developments, with supporters expressing hope that the deal will be accepted by Russia.

National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby said a senior administration official spoke to the families prior to Blinken’s announcement of the proposal. Biden recently spoke on the phone with Griner’s wife Sherell and Whelan’s sister Elizabeth.

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David Whelan, Paul’s brother, said in a statement: “Our family is grateful to the Biden administration for seeking Paul’s release with the resources it has. We hope that the Russian government will respond to the US government and accept this or any other concession that will allow Paul to come home to his family.”

Trevor Reid, Veteran Marine Corps, returned to the USA in a prisoner exchange earlier this year after more than two years in Russia, said Jake Tupper of CNN that, in his opinion, Griner and Whelan had a “really good chance” of returning home, “especially given the transparency that the administration has used in doing so.”

“I think that if the Russians are not stupid, then they will accept this offer,” Reid said.

Rep. Colin Allred from Texas who worked to pitch bipartisan Home resolution calling for Griner’s release, said that Griner’s testimony was critical and that she had done her best to stand trial, but that it might not be enough, depending on how the Russian government responded.

“The only reason we’re having this conversation is because they’re trying to use her to pressure the United States,” Allred told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Obviously we have to do our best to get her home and I hope the Russians will accept this package.”

Chris Liakos of CNN, Dakin Andone, Zahra Ulla, Abby Phillip, Caitlan Collins, Evan Perez, Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood, Michael Conte, Christian Sierra, DJ Judd, Shauna Mizell, AnnClaire Stapleton and Brynn Werbowski contributed to this report.