Brittney Griner’s Lawyers Tell Russian Court She Has Doctor’s Recommendation for Medical Cannabis

Brittney Griner’s trial on hashish possession costs continued in Russia on Friday, with the WNBA star’s attorneys telling the courtroom that she has a doctor’s advice to use medical pot. Griner was arrested at an airport in close proximity to Moscow in February after customs brokers reportedly discovered vape cartridges made up of fewer than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage as she manufactured her way via a protection checkpoint. If convicted, she faces up to 10 a long time in jail.

At a hearing on Friday, her defense team submitted evidence that could elicit leniency from the court docket, including documentation that she has a doctor’s recommendation to use healthcare cannabis in the United States. The protection also submitted proof that Griner experienced a short while ago passed an anti-doping drug screening, with no prohibited substances uncovered in her technique.

“The defense today supplied prepared proof, together with character materials, medical paperwork and tax returns,” Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, instructed Reuters.

“Among the clinical files is a doctor’s be aware for the material that Brittney Griner inadvertently still left amid her belongings when crossing the border,” she explained.

Griner’s legal professionals also mentioned that the suggestion to use hashish medicinally experienced been sanctioned by the state government in Arizona, the place she is the star heart for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

“The attending health practitioner gave Brittney tips for the use of professional medical cannabis,” Blagovolina additional. “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Well being.”

Griner’s Plea

Griner’s trial commenced on July 1 in a courtroom in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow exactly where the airport is situated. She pleaded responsible on July 7 to the prices she faces, though she advised the court that she did not intend to dedicate a criminal offense and that she experienced packed for her vacation swiftly, unaware that the vape cartridges ended up in her luggage. While Griner has now pleaded guilty, her trial proceeds as the courtroom considers the circumstances of the alleged offense.

In a statement just after Griner entered her plea, her lawful staff mentioned that it was the WNBA star’s selection to plead guilty to the prices, including that the transfer “sets an case in point of being brave.”

“She made a decision to take full accountability for her steps as she knows that she is a part product for many men and women,” the lawyers explained. “Considering the nature of her circumstance, the insignificant amount of the compound and BG’s personality and record of positive contributions to worldwide and Russian sport, the defense hopes that the plea will be regarded as by the court docket as a mitigating element and there will be no intense sentence.”

On Thursday, some of Griner’s teammates on the Russian basketball staff she plays for, UMMC Ekaterinburg, addressed the court as character witnesses. Workforce captain Evgeniya Belyakova told the courtroom that Griner is “the coronary heart of our crew,” in accordance to a tweet from Moscow NPR correspondent Charles Maynes, and mentioned that lovers in Russia “adore her.”

Soon after the listening to, Griner’s attorneys reported that UMMC Ekaterinburg director Maxim Ryabkov “gave a good description of Brittney Griner all through his speech in courtroom, noting her outstanding skills as a player and own contribution to strengthening the workforce spirit, which authorized the staff to accomplish the best success in the Russian basketball leading league and in global competitions for many a long time.”

Griner ‘Wrongfully Detained’

The U.S. State Division has officially listed Griner as wrongfully detained and the White Residence has stated that President Joe Biden is performing all the things he can to secure her release from Russia. Media reports have speculated that the governments of the United States and Russia could finally engineer a swap of prisoners, with the American authorities potentially releasing Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, nicknamed “the Service provider of Demise,” who is serving a 25-yr sentence for conspiracy to destroy U.S. citizens and providing support to a terrorist business.

Just after Friday’s listening to, U.S. Embassy demand d’affaires Elizabeth Rood commented on the assist Griner has obtained all through her trial.

“In the hearings yesterday and currently what became quite apparent is the remarkable total of respect and admiration both equally in the United States and listed here in Russia exactly where Overlook Griner has been playing basketball for seven many years, not only for her skilled achievements but for her character and integrity,” she reported exterior the courthouse.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the senior Russian diplomat, has declined to remark on a potential prisoner swap, noting that till her trial concludes “there are no official or procedural reasons to chat about any further methods.”

Ryabkov also warned that criticism from the United States, like Griner’s position as wrongfully detained and detrimental feedback about the Russian court program, “makes it complicated to engage in in-depth dialogue of any feasible exchanges.”

The up coming listening to in Griner’s demo is scheduled for July 26. Her lawful group has stated that they expect the demo to conclude sometime in August, although her detention has been extended until finally December 20 by Russian authorities.