Russian prosecutors are seeking to jail Brittney Griner for 9½ years for possession of cannabis, according to ESPN’s TJ Quinn. The prosecutors’ requests were made during closing arguments in Griner’s trial, which ended Thursday.
Griner’s attorney, Maria Blagovolina, said a verdict in the case is
Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for having vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. The 31-year-old WNBA star told the judge she “never intended to break any law” during closing arguments.
However, prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko believes Griner deliberately packaged the cannabis oil and urged the court to fine Griner 1 million rubles (about $16,700) in addition to jail time.
“I know everyone talks about ‘political pawn’ and ‘politics,’ but I hope that’s away from this courtroom,” Griner said, addressing the court.
In July, before her trial, the US State Department argued that Griner had been “wrongfully detained”. Accordingly, the United States transferred his case to the supervision of its Presidential Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs. , the next course of action could be a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken contacted Russian Secretary of State Sergey Lavrov last week in what CBS News called an “extraordinary move” and asked him to accept a trade from Griner and Paul Whelan, who is an American currently imprisoned in Russia on charges related to an espionage conviction.
According to CBS News, “people familiar with the proposal” say Griner and Whelan would be traded for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.