Griner’s arrest was improper, legal team says
After being stopped by personnel at the Sheremetyevo International Airport on February
17 and asked to open her bags
, Griner’s luggage was found to contain what amounted to less than one gram of cannabis oil
, according to Russian prosecutors
No attorney was present, Griner testified, and she said her rights were not explained to her, 哪一个, according to Russian law, should have occurred within three hours. Those rights would include her right to know what she was suspected of and to have access to a defense attorney from the moment she was detained — including the ability to have a private meeting before her first interrogation by authorities.
Griner signed documents that were unclear to her, 她说, and she had to use Google Translate on her phone to try and make sense of what was happening.
Griner’s detention, search and arrest were “improper,” Alexander Boykov, one of her lawyers, 星期三说. More details would be revealed, 他说, during closing arguments expected to take place “in a manner of a couple of weeks.”
She testified she did not know the oil was in her bag
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was aware of Russian drug laws, 她作证, and the cannabis oil was in her luggage due to “stress packing” in a rush.
“I still don’t understand to this day how they ended up in my bags,” Griner said.
格里纳 “confirmed that she had a doctor’s prescription for the use of medical cannabis,” 哪一个 “is quite a popular treatment among professional athletes. She emphasized that she never planned to bring it to Russia and use it,” attorney Maria Blagovolina told reporters after the hearing.
A knee injury forced her into a wheelchair for four months, Griner told the court, and she used the substance for inflamed knee and ankle joints. She also emphasized she did not use it before tournaments to prevent possible disqualifications.
“没有, I would never risk that
. I never wanted to hurt my team
,” Griner said
. 她曾经是 tested for drugs
, her lawyers previously said
, and was clean
格里纳 “explained to the court that she knows and respects Russian laws and never intended to break them,” Blagovolina said. Griner also told the court she enjoyed playing basketball in Russia during the WNBA’s offseason and that her club, UMMC Ekaterinburg, became a second home to her, Blagovolina said.
“We continue to insist that, by indiscretion, in a hurry, she packed her suitcase and did not pay attention to the fact that substances allowed for use in the United States ended up in this suitcase and arrived in the Russian Federation,” Boykov said.
Prisoner swap is proposed, 美国官员说
Amid Griner’s detention and trial
, months of internal debate by the Biden administration culminated in an offer by the US to exchange Griner and Whelan
— whose Russian prison sentence has been denounced by the US as unfair
— with convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout
, people briefed on the matter tell CNN
The plan received the backing of President Joe Biden and overrides opposition from the Department of Justice
, which generally frowns upon prisoner trades
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden was
” and signed off on the proposal
” presented to Moscow
, but he declined to provide further details or confirm Bout as part of the proposal
. Blinken said he also intends to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the coming days
— their first conversation since 俄罗斯入侵乌克兰
然而, when asked about the offer Thursday, [object Window], “So far there is no agreement on this issue.”
“看, since there are no agreements now that would be finalized, 然后, accordingly, I have nothing more to add to what has been said,” Peskov said.
Griner’s attorneys, Blagovolina and Boykov, learned of the possible swap through news reports, 他们说. While not participating in those discussions, the two said they would be pleased with any productive results.
“From the legal perspective, the swap is possible only after the court reaches a verdict. 在任何情况下, we would be really happy if Brittney will be able to come home and hope it will be soon,” 他们说.
Griner is due to return to Khimki regional court August 2.
‘Really good chance’ of release, says freed American
Since the reporting of the proposed swap became public, officials say families have been kept abreast of certain developments and supporters have expressed hope that the deal is accepted by Russia.
National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby said a senior administration official spoke with the families prior to Blinken’s announcement about the proposal. Biden recently spoke by phone with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, and Whelan’s sister, 伊丽莎白.
David Whelan, Paul’s brother, 在声明中说, “Our family appreciates the Biden Administration seeking Paul’s release using the resources it has available. We hope the Russian government responds to the US government and accepts this or some other concession that enables Paul to come home to his family.”
特雷弗·里德, a Marine veteran who returned to the US in a prisoner swap earlier this year after being detained in Russia for more than two years
, 告诉 CNN’s Jake Tapper that he thinks Griner and Whelan
“have a really good chance
” of making it home
, “especially considering the transparency that the administration has used in this.
“我觉得, 你懂, if the Russians are not stupid then they’ll take that offer,” 里德说.
代表. 德克萨斯州的科林·奥尔雷德, who worked to pass a 两党 House resolution calling for Griner’s release
, said it was critical hearing Griner’s testimony and that she has done her best to present herself in court
, but it may not be enough depending on how the Russian government reacts
“The only reason we’re having this conversation is because they’re trying to use her for leverage against the United States,” Allred told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Clearly we’re having to do whatever it takes to get her home, and I’m hoping this package will be accepted by the Russians.”