MOSCOW, Russia. (WLNS) – WNBA star Brittney Griner made her first court appearance today, since the Biden administration revealed it was prepared to engage in a prisoner swap to free Griner and another U.S. citizen in Russians custody, Paul Whelan.
Griner was detained in February in a Moscow airport and later charged with drug smuggling.
If convicted, Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.
During the hearing Tuesday, Griner’s defense team continued to argue that a state-appointed forensic expert made technical and procedural errors when examining the cannabis-infused vape cartridges found in her luggage, when she arrived in Russia.
Earlier in the trial, Griner pleaded guilty to carrying cartridges in her bag but maintained that she had packed them by accident and did not intend to violate Russian law, which states that cannabis is prohibited for both medical and recreational purposes.
“She’s still focused, and she’s still nervous, and she still knows that the end is near. And, of course, she heard the news so she’s hoping that sometime she could be coming home, and we hope, too,” Griner’s Lawyer, Maria Blagovolina said.
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Moscow was present in the courtroom.
He said “The U.S. will continue to do everything it can to bring American citizens home.”