During the trial, the prosecutor’s office called the state narcologist, who checked the cannabis found in the basketball star’s luggage. The defense sent a specialist who challenged the analysis, which he considered erroneous and not in accordance with official rules.
Griner, handcuffed, was placed in a cage at a courthouse in Khimki, a city on the northern outskirts of Moscow. While in the cage, she kept personal photographs.
The trial has been adjourned until Thursday for final statements.
If convicted, the National Women’s Basketball Association (WNBA) athlete and two-time Olympic champion faces up to 10 years in prison. As her trial progressed, the Biden administration faced mounting public pressure to release her.
Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, urging him to agree to a deal that would see Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, released.
The call was the most famous high-level contact between Washington and Moscow since Russia sent troops to Ukraine more than five months ago, in defiance of US efforts to isolate the Kremlin.
People familiar with the offer say she plans to trade Griner and Whelan for notorious arms dealer Victor Bout. This highlights public pressure on the White House to secure Greener’s release.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday that Russia had responded dishonesty to the Biden administration’s proposal with a counteroffer that U.S. officials do not consider serious. She refused to clarify her thoughts.
Griner admitted that she had cannabis oil cartridges in her luggage when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. But she insisted that she had no criminal intent, and the cartridges ended up in her suitcase because she was packing in a hurry. In the off-season, the WNBA played for the Russian women’s team.
To support his case, his lawyers presented doctors’ testimony that he was prescribed cannabis as a pain reliever. Cannabis for medical purposes is illegal in Russia.
There are many factors that will be taken into account by the court.Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing, adding that Griner admitted to bringing something, but we need to know what she brought.
Although judges are entitled under Russian law to consider extenuating circumstances, acquittals are rare and account for less than 1% of criminal cases in Russia.
However, the guilty verdict could open the way for Griner’s trade, as Russian officials have said this will only happen after the trial is over.