Brittney Griner’s trial for bringing hash oil into Russia could be coming to an end this week, as a verdict and sentence are expected on Friday according to T.J. Quinn from ESPN. Griner could be facing 10 years in prison if convicted.
The WNBA star was taken into custody on Feb. 17 at the Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow when customs allegedly found vape cartridges containing the marijuana concentrate hashish oil in her luggage. Her criminal trial began on July 1, and since then, Griner has pleaded guilty but has emphasized multiple times that she had no criminal intent.
The news comes a week after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said publicly that the U.S. government has put a “substantial proposal on the table” to bring Griner back to the U.S.,but gave no details on it. That same day, CNN reported that this offer is to exchange convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout for Griner and corporate security director Paul Whelan. The outlet later reported that Russia was also asking for convicted murderer Vadim Krasikov, although he is currently in German custody.
“We still believe that any exchanges of information on this topic should be discrete,” Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday during a press briefing. “Megaphone diplomacy and public exchange of positions won’t lead to a result.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, Griner’s defense team questioned the original analysis of the cannabis-infused vape cartridges found in Griner’s luggage. The lawyers argued that the state-appointed forensic expert who examined them made some technical and procedural errors. CBS News reported that they called another forensic expert, Dmitry Gladyshev, to testify on the stand.
“The examination [of the cartridges] does not comply with the legislation regarding the completeness of the study and does not comply with the norms of the [Russian Criminal] Code,” Gladyshev said.
Griner’s trial was adjourned until Thursday for closing statements.
For a full explainer on Griner’s situation, click here.