Brittney Griner’s court case continues as the count of days detained passes 150. Griner has pleaded guilty to drug charges, but her defense team is working on lightening the 10 year maximum sentence under Russian law.
Griner, center for the Phoenix Suns, was traveling to Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian professional team. Many WNBA players play overseas during the WNBA off-season to add to their income. In a session on Thursday, Evgeniya Belyakova, captain of UMMC Ekaterinburg, and Maksim Ryabkov, the team’s director, testified as character witnesses for Griner.
“Yesterday was quite an emotional day for her,” attorney Alexander Boykov told reporters after Friday’s hearing, CNN reports. “She saw her general manager, her friend, and teammate Evgeniya Belyakova for the first time in many months. And now she just wants to take a rest.”
The trial will resume on July 26.
Griner’s legal team released a statement disclosing that Griner had a medical marijuana prescription, which was used in the defense’s case: “The defense today provided written evidence, including character support material, medical records, and tax returns. Among the medical documents is a doctor’s prescription for the substance that, due to an oversight, Brittney Griner left among her belongings when crossing the border. Among the character support documents are numerous letters of thanks from various organizations in Yekaterinburg, as well as letters from the US Basketball Associations, UMMC Ekaterinburg and the Russian Basketball Federation.”
Elizabeth Rood, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, issued this statement to the media: “I will only say that in the hearings yesterday and today, what became very clear is the tremendous amount of respect and admiration both in the United States and here in Russia where Ms. Griner has been playing basketball for seven years, not only for her professional achievements, but for her character and integrity.”