Brittney Griner to testify in trial, legal professionals say

“Griner will testify tomorrow, and after that, it is her resolution whether or not she solutions any questions or not,” Alexander Boykov, a lawyer for Griner, informed CNN on Tuesday. Prosecutors additionally could have a possibility to query Griner.

The 2-time Olympic gold medalist made a quick courtroom look on the Khimki courtroom of the Moscow area on Tuesday the place her protection workforce introduced proof.

Griner, 31, pleaded responsible to drug expenses earlier this month however the US State Division says she is wrongfully detained. She faces as much as 10 years in jail. Griner’s supporters have known as for her launch over fears she is getting used as a political pawn amid Russia’s conflict on Ukraine.

At Tuesday’s listening to, which lasted about an hour, a narcologist introduced in by Griner’s legal professionals stated that primarily based on the WNBA participant’s prescription, it’s seemingly Griner used the hashish oil present in her baggage for medical functions slightly than leisure functions.

The narcologist, Mikhail Tetyushkin, defined that “medical hashish is a well-liked therapy particularly amongst athletes” in lots of international locations outdoors Russia.

Tetyushkin introduced the courtroom with data on using medical marijuana by athletes, saying that the frequent use of cannabinoids is incompatible with skilled sports activities because of the impact of rest and inhibition of response occasions.

He additionally informed the courtroom on Tuesday that there is no such thing as a world customary on the amount of cannabinoids in medical marijuana.

Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, informed the courtroom that an preliminary report from the prosecution’s professional witness was “inconsistent” and never in keeping with scientific and authorized requirements.

Blagovolina stated the report from the prosecution’s professional witness didn’t decide the quantitative content material of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) within the hashish oil present in Griner’s baggage. THC is the principal psychoactive substance in hashish.

When the listening to concluded, Blagovolina stated Tetyushkin “defined that in numerous international locations — specifically within the US — medical hashish is a well-liked therapy particularly amongst athletes.”

“Thus, with the prescription in place, Brittney might have used it for medical however not leisure functions,” Blagovolina added.

Tuesday’s listening to, the fifth to this point in Griner’s felony trial, was attended by US Embassy Cost d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood.

Talking to press outdoors the courtroom, Rood informed reporters that Griner confirmed that she is doing as “nicely as could be anticipated underneath these circumstances.”

The trial is predicted to finish early subsequent month, Griner’s legal professionals have stated.

Griner detained since February

The Phoenix Mercury basketball star was arrested in February at a Moscow airport with lower than a gram of hashish oil in her baggage. Griner, who performs in Russia throughout the WNBA’s offseason, has been held since then on drug smuggling expenses. Her trial started in early July.

A prosecutor firstly of her trial in Moscow accused Griner of deliberately smuggling the medication into Russia.
Griner informed a courtroom that she had not meant to commit a criminal offense and that it was the results of her packing in a rush, state information company RIA Novosti reported. Her protection workforce informed Russian judges that she was prescribed medical hashish for “extreme persistent ache.”

The protection hopes the plea will probably be thought-about by the courtroom as a mitigating issue and the sentence will not be extreme.

The choice to plead responsible was made by Griner alone, a supply near her has stated. However in current weeks, Griner, her household, legal professionals and specialists had mentioned this resolution extensively. Given the 99% reported conviction fee in Russian felony circumstances, Griner was urged to weigh all of the components, together with a plea that would finally end in a shorter sentence.

Some have speculated Griner could possibly be launched and returned to the US in a prisoner swap, as was Trevor Reed, an American veteran detained in Russia for 3 years earlier than his launch in April.

Nonetheless, earlier than any potential prisoner swap, it was anticipated Griner must be convicted and likewise admit fault, a senior US official has informed CNN. Reed needed to signal a doc saying he was responsible — one thing he had resisted for nearly the whole lot of his detention — simply days earlier than he was let loose, the official stated.

‘Please do not forget about me’

Many within the WNBA, together with different athletes, coaches and politicians, have known as for Griner’s launch. Griner wrote a letter to President Joe Biden that was delivered to the White Home this month, saying she fears she will probably be detained in Russia indefinitely.

“I notice you’re coping with a lot, however please do not forget about me and the opposite American Detainees. Please do all you may to convey us house,” Griner wrote. “I voted for the primary time in 2020 and I voted for you. I consider in you. I nonetheless have a lot good to do with my freedom which you can assist restore.”

Griner has some supporters in Russia, the place she performed throughout the WNBA offseason. A former teammate together with the director of UMMC Ekaterinburg — the workforce Griner performed with in western Russia till her contract expired after she was detained — testified at an earlier listening to.

“Brittney has all the time been a superb teammate, which is why my function right here is to assist her and be there for her,” workforce captain Evgeniya Belyakova stated after the listening to.

Belyakova, a previous captain of the Russian nationwide workforce, added, “We miss her and her vitality a lot. I used to be very glad to see her. I hope the method ends quickly and ends nicely.”

This story has been up to date with extra developments and background data.

CNN’s Niamh Kennedy, Abby Phillip, Dakin Andone and Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.