HomeSportsBrittney Griner Gets Supportive Testimony From Russian Basketball Figures At Last Hearing

Brittney Griner Gets Supportive Testimony From Russian Basketball Figures At Last Hearing


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Brittney Griner found support from Russian basketball figures when her trial resumed on Thursday, the detained WNBA superstar’s attorney said.

Maxim Ryabkov, manager of Griner’s Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg, and team captain Yevgenia Belyakova testified in defense of the basketball star, Maria Blagovolina told reporters after the hearing ended, according to Reuters.

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WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at the Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 7, 2022.
(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Blagovolina said Ryabkov told the court about Griner’s “outstanding abilities as a player and his personal contribution to strengthening team spirit.”

Blagovolina said the defense was satisfied with the way the hearing went and another hearing was scheduled for Friday.

“It was an extremely emotional day for Brittney, who was moved by the appearance of the club manager, the head doctor and her team-mate, who all gave an extremely positive description of our client both personally and professionally,” he said.

WNBA STARS HONOR BRITTNEY GRINER DURING GAME: ‘SHE’S OUR SISTER’

FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots during the first half of Game 1 of the WNBA Basketball Finals against the Chicago Sky on Oct. 10, 2021, in Phoenix.

FILE – Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots during the first half of Game 1 of the WNBA Basketball Finals against the Chicago Sky on Oct. 10, 2021, in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

Griner pleaded guilty to a drug charge last week. She was accused of bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils through a Moscow airport in February. She has been in detention ever since. The guilty plea does not end the trial. The testimony was made in the hope of a reduced sentence. She could face up to 10 years in a Russian jail.

Last week’s guilty plea could be used as a tactic to speed up court proceedings so that possible prisoner swap negotiations can take place. Russian officials have said no trades can take place until the trial is over.

American WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at the Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 7, 2022. - Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was arrested at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying cannabis oil in her luggage vape cartridges, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence.

American WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at the Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 7, 2022. – Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was arrested at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying cannabis oil in her luggage vape cartridges, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence.
(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

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Griner’s detention has been authorized until December 20, suggesting the trial could last for months. Griner’s attorneys have said they expect things to wrap up by early August.

Associated Press contributed to this report.



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