Lawyers representing WNBA star Brittney Griner have told a Russian court that she was prescribed medical cannabis.
Ms Griner received the order in the United States to treat a chronic injury, lawyers told the court on Friday, Reuters reported.
The Pheonix Mercury Center pleaded guilty to drug charges that can see her sentenced to 10 years after she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February with vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage.
Ms Griner, 31, appeared in court for her fourth hearing on Friday wearing a Nirvana t-shirt. She previously said she had no intention of breaking the law.
President Joe Biden has said the United States is doing everything possible to bring her home.
The Kremlin has so far opposed the suggestion of a prisoner swap, saying it is too early to speak of an exchange of Ms Griner in exchange for a Russian national held in the United States.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist’s defense team submitted court documents on Friday claiming she ‘inadvertently’ brought the vape cartridges to Russia after the permit was issued in Arizona, where she plays for the Pheonix. Mercury in the WNBA.
Ms. Griner was playing in Russia to supplement her income during the WNBA’s off-season when she was arrested.
One of the basketball star’s lawyers, Maria Blagovolina, who is a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners, told Reuters that “the defense today provided written evidence including character elements, medical documents and tax returns”.
“Among the medical documents is a doctor’s note for the substance Brittney Griner inadvertently left among her belongings while crossing the border,” she added.
In a hearing on Thursday, the director of Russian basketball UMMC Yekaterinburg, Maxim Ryabkov, came out in favor of Ms Griner.
Ms Blagovolina said Mr Ryabkov had mentioned ‘Ms Griner’s exceptional abilities as a player and her personal contribution to building team spirit’.
Team captain Yevgenia Belyakova also testified in favor of Ms Griner on Thursday in a hearing closed to the press.
“It was a hugely emotional day for Brittney, who was touched by the appearance of the club manager, chief medical officer and teammate, who gave an extremely positive description of our client, both personally and professionally. “Ms Blagovolina told Reuters.
Ms. Griner has previously played in China and played for the first time in Russia in the 2014-2015 season.
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Post expires at 6:31pm on Thursday July 21st, 2022