Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina told RIA Novosti the appeal was filed. Griner was also fined 1 million rubles – the equivalent to about $ 16,400.
The 31-year-old was arrested in February in Russia. She was returning to her Russian basketball team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, after there was a pause in the season for international play. She has been held in the country ever since. The U.S. State Department declared her “wrongfully detained.”
Griner apologized in court earlier this month.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them,” she said. “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”
Griner contended she made “an honest mistake” when she brought vape cartridges through the airport, adding “I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.”
Russian media has speculated the trade could be for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death,” who is serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. after being convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sunday on Rossiya-1 TV that Moscow was ready for “a professional conversation and concrete steps” toward Griner and American Paul Whelan.
“People who are to deal with these matters are ready,” Zakharova said, via USA Today. “And this work is not done in the public eye.”
It’s unclear how far talks about the prisoner swap have progressed.