A US basketball star has faced a court in Russia for her latest hearing.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist, Brittney Griner faces up to 10 years in prison after a vape canister containing cannabis oil was found in her luggage at Moscow airport.
She was taken into custody in February and her case became so high-profile, it reached the White House.
Griner pleaded guilty to the charges, but has insisted she brought the vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into the country inadvertently.
During her testimony, the Phoenix Mercury star told the court how she made the 13-hour trek from Arizona to Moscow shortly after having Covid, and that she had been given the oil by a doctor for an injury and accidentally brought it because she was in a rush to pack.
Griner said that when she was questioned at the airport, the
At one point, airport officials made Griner sign a document without explaining to her what it was for. Officials later confiscated her cellphone and made her sign more papers.
Griner has reiterated her guilty plea, telling the courthouse last week she understands the charges against her.
She said: ‘I do understand the charges against me, I do take responsibility for them being in my bag, but I didn’t plan on bringing anything to Russia.’
Attempting to bolster Griner’s case, her attorneys have shown the court doctor’s notes to prove she was prescribed the cannabis oil for pain.
The trial adjourned until Thursday, when closing statements are scheduled. It’s unclear when Griner will be sentenced, despite her attorney saying it would come ‘very soon.’ The Russian court has authorized her detention until December 20.
Last week, Joe Biden revealed that they were to bring her and US Marine Paul Whelan home.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke last week with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov about the proposal, which would see Griner and Whelan being traded for notorious arms trader Viktor Bout.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that, in response, Russia made a ‘bad faith’ counteroffer that American officials are not considering to be serious.
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