Sport Brittney Griner back in Russian court on cannabis charge
Curry Leads Powerful Message About Brittney Griner at the ESPYs
The NBA star was joined by Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith on stage to discuss the WNBA star’s detainment in Russia. WNBA stars Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith joined ESPYs host Steph Curry on the stage during Wednesday night’s show to share a powerful message about Brittney Griner’s wrongful detainment in Russia.“We cannot stop fighting for her,” Curry said. “We cannot stop believing for her. And we will not stop hoping for the day when we can welcome her home safely.”Curry said all of this while sporting Griner’s Mercury jersey.
KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — Brittney Griner was back in court on Tuesday for her trial for cannabis possession amid U.S. diplomatic efforts to secure her release.
If convicted, the WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist could face 10 years in prison. As her trial has progressed, the Biden administration has faced growing public pressure to get her released.
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In an extraordinary move, Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, urging him to accept a deal under which Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction, would go free.
The Lavrov-Blinken call marked the highest-level known contact between Washington and Moscow since Russia sent troops into Ukraine more than five months ago, the direct outreach at odds with U.S. efforts to isolate the Kremlin.
Brittney Griner testifies in Russian court as US works to secure her release
Brittney Griner testified on Wednesday in a Russian court after the WNBA star's legal team requested more time for her to prepare. Griner, a 31-year-old Houston native who plays professional basketball for the Phoenix Mercury, was detained on Feb. 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Khimki as she returned to Russia to play during the WNBA's offseason after she was accused of having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in the country. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and also has a right to an appeal.
People familiar with the proposal say it envisions trading Griner and Whelan for the notorious arms trader Viktor Bout. It underlines the public pressure that the White House has faced to get Griner released.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday that Russia has made a “bad faith” response to the U.S. government’s offer, a counteroffer that American officials don’t regard as serious. She declined to elaborate.
Russia's Lavrov says he will discuss US prisoner swap offer
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that he's open to a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss a possible prisoner swap involving American basketball star Brittney Griner. Blinken said Wednesday that Washington had offered Russia a deal that would bring home Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. A person familiar with the matter said the U.S. government proposed trading convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Whelan and Griner.
Griner has acknowledged there were vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. But she insisted that she had no criminal intent and that the canisters ended up in her luggage because she was packing hastily. Griner played for a Russian women’s basketball team in the WNBA off-season.
To bolster her case, her defense lawyers presented testimony from doctors that she was prescribed cannabis as a treatment for pain. Medical marijuana treatment is not legal in Russia.
Brittney Griner returns to Russian court as US floats proposal to secure her release
American basketball star Brittney Griner was back in court for her drug possession trial in Russia on Tuesday, as the U.S. floats a proposal to secure her release. Your browser does not support this video Griner, a 31-year-old Houston native who plays professional basketball for the Phoenix Mercury, was returning to Russia for the WNBA's offseason when she was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in the Moscow suburb of Khimki on Feb. 17, after being accused of having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in the country.
While judges have leeway to consider mitigating factors under Russian law, acquittals are rare and account for less than 1% of cases in Russian criminal prosecutions.
A conviction, however, could potentially pave the way for Griner's exchange as Russian officials said it could only happen after the judicial process is completed.
Tom Firestone, a Washington attorney who formerly served as legal adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said Griner could be handed a tough sentence as a way for Russians "to maximize their leverage in negotiations.” He told The Associated Press that Russia “may want to let this play out a little bit longer and try to extract more concessions.”
Russian officials have scoffed at U.S. statements about the case, saying they show a disrespect for Russian law. They remained poker-faced, urging Washington to discuss the issue through “quiet diplomacy without releases of speculative information.”
Los Angeles Sparks' flight home canceled, forcing half the team to sleep at the airport
The Los Angeles Sparks ended their four-game road trip with a victory against the Mystics. Then, their commercial flight home got canceled.In the video, Ogwumike, a forward with the Sparks, is seen walking with a face mask and talking into the camera to provide an update about the team's travel issues.
Eric Tucker in Washington DC contributed to this story.
Blinken says U.S. made offer to Russia for release of Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan .
The secretary of state said securing the Americans' release remains a "top priority" for the U.S."In the coming days, I expect to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov for the first time since the war began," Blinken said. "I plan to raise an issue that's a top priority for us: the release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, who have been wrongfully detained and must be allowed to come home. We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release. Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal.