Brittney Griner: Examining dust in vape cartridges violates Russian law, defense expert says

One of the violations is that the results of the exam do not contain the amount of THC in the substance researchers tested, Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina said after the hearing.

“The investigation does not comply with the law in terms of the completeness of the investigation and the standards of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” forensic chemist Dmitry Gladyshev testified for the defense during the approximately two-hour hearing.

The defense also questioned Prosecutor Alexander Korablyov, who examined Griner’s cartridges from her luggage.

Griner’s appearance at the courthouse of the city of Khimki marked her seventh hearing as Russian prosecutors accused her of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug charges — a decision her lawyers hope will result in a less severe sentence — though the US State Department alleges she is being wrongly detained and could face up to 10 years in prison.
Supporters of the two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury Center, who plays in Russia during the WNBA season, have called for her release over fears she will be used as a political pawn amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. U.S. officials are under tremendous pressure from Griner’s family, lawmakers and the professional basketball community to bring her home, and Griner wrote to President Joe Biden pleading with him to do everything in his power to facilitate her release.

The 31-year-old was in the suspect’s cage in court on Tuesday. US embassy chargé d’affaires in Moscow, Elizabeth Rood, attended the hearing on Tuesday and said afterward that the US would “continue to support Miss Griner every step of the way and as long as it takes to get her to the United States.” safe.”

Griner’s next hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

At the trial, Griner testified that she has a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug to Russia. After her detention in February, she was tested for drugs and was clean, her lawyers said earlier.

Under public pressure and after months of internal debate, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with Russia and offered to release a convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, people who informed about the matter to CNN.
Russian officials opposed the US offer, multiple sources familiar with the discussions say, and, in addition to arms dealer Viktor Bout, also asked for a convicted murderer who was formerly a colonel at the Russian spy agency, Vadim Krasikov.

US officials did not accept the request as a legitimate counter-offer, the sources told CNN, in part because the proposal was sent through an informal channel. The release of Krasikov would also be complicated because he is in German custody.

“It is a bad faith attempt to avoid a very serious offer and proposal made by the United States and we urge Russia to take that offer seriously,” said Defense Department spokesman John Kirby. , to CNN. Brittney and Paul are coming home to their families where they belong.”

Meanwhile, Griner’s trial continues, and her legal team is expected to continue to question more witnesses before moving on to closing arguments, in which the attorneys will explain why they believe Griner’s detention was mishandled. Closing arguments are expected in the coming weeks.

Lawyers plead for ‘inappropriate’ detention

Griner’s lawyers have already put forward some arguments alleging that the basketball player’s arrest was not handled properly after she was detained on Feb. 17 by staff at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Her detention, search and arrest were “inappropriate,” Alexander Boykov, one of her lawyers, said last week, noting that more details would be revealed during closing arguments.

After being apprehended at the airport, Griner had to sign documents that she didn’t quite understand, she testified. At first, she said, she used Google translate on her phone, but later she was moved to another room where her phone was taken and had to sign more documents.

No lawyer was present, she testified, and her rights were not explained to her. Those rights included access to a lawyer once she was detained and the right to know what she was suspected of doing. Under Russian law, she should have been advised of her rights within three hours of her arrest.

Here's what we learned from the Brittney Griner trial in Russia after her final testimony:

In her testimony, Griner “explained to the court that she knows and respects Russian laws and never intended to break them,” Blagovolina – a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners – said after last week’s hearing.

The detained player testified that she was aware of Russian laws and had no intention of bringing the cannabis oil into the country, noting that she was in a hurry and “packing stress.”

Griner confirmed she has a doctor’s prescription for medicinal cannabis, said Blagovolina, which she uses to treat knee pain and joint inflammation.

“We continue to maintain that, through indiscretion, she hastily packed her suitcase and paid no attention to the fact that substances authorized for use in the United States ended up in this suitcase and arrived in the Russian Federation,” Boykov said. . of the Moscow Legal Center, said.

Griner’s family, supporters and WNBA teammates continue to express their solidarity and hope as they await the conclusion of the trial and look forward to the potential of her release.

Ahead of last week’s lawsuit, the WNBA players’ union tweeted“Dear BG… It’s early in Moscow. Our day is coming to an end and yours is just beginning. Not a day, not an hour goes by that you are not on our minds and hearts.”

This story was updated Tuesday with additional developments.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, Brittney Griner’s first name was misspelled.

Travis Caldwell, Dakin Andone, Kylie Atwood, Evan Perez, Jennifer Hansler, Natasha Bertrand, Frederik Pleitgen, Chris Liakos and Zahra Ullah of CNN contributed to this report.

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