Brittney Griner: Examination of substance in vape cartridges violated Russian law, defense expert says

Among the violations is that the test results did not contain the amount of THC in the substance tested by investigators, Griner’s attorney Maria Blagovolina said after the hearing.

“The examination does not comply with the law in terms of the completeness of the study and does not meet the standards of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” forensic chemist Dmitry Gladyshev testified for the defense during the trial session. about two hours.

The defense also interviewed prosecutor’s expert Alexander Korablyov, who examined Griner’s cartridges taken from his luggage.

Griner’s appearance at the Khimki city courthouse marked his seventh hearing as Russian prosecutors accuse him of trying to smuggle less than a gram of cannabis oil into his luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug charges – a move her lawyers hope will result in a lesser sentence – even as the US State Department maintains she is being wrongfully detained and faces up to 10 years in prison. jail.
Supporters of the two-time Olympic gold medalist and center Phoenix Mercury who plays in Russia during the WNBA offseason have called for her release, fearing she could be used as a political pawn amid the war of the Russia versus Ukraine. U.S. officials are facing immense pressure from Griner’s family, lawmakers and the professional basketball community to bring her home, and Griner has written to President Joe Biden begging him to do whatever it takes. whatever was in his power to facilitate his release.

The 31-year-old sat in the defendant’s cage in the courtroom on Tuesday. U.S. Embassy Moscow Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood attended Tuesday’s hearing and said afterwards that the United States “will continue to support Ms. Griner every step of the way.” and as long as it takes to get her back to the United States safely.”

Griner’s next hearing is set for Thursday.

At trial, Griner testified that she had a medical prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of smuggling the drug into Russia. After her detention in February, she was tested for drugs and was clean, her lawyers previously said.

Amid public pressure and after months of internal debate, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with Russia, offering to release a convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, people briefed on the matter told CNN.
Russian officials have countered the US offer, multiple sources familiar with the talks said, asking in addition to arms dealer Viktor Bout that the US also include a convicted murderer who was previously a colonel in the Russian spy agency. , Vadim Krasikov.

US officials did not accept the request as a legitimate counter-offer, the sources told CNN, in part because the proposal was sent through an informal channel. Krasikov’s release would also be complicated as he is in German custody.

“This is a bad faith attempt to avoid a very serious offer and proposal that the United States has put forward and we urge Russia to take this offer seriously,” the Defense Ministry spokesman said. John Kirby, to CNN, later adding, “We really want to see Brittney and Paul go home to their families where they belong.”

Meanwhile, Griner’s trial continues, with his legal team expected to continue questioning other witnesses before moving on to closing arguments, during which the attorneys will explain why they believe Griner’s detention was mishandled. The pleadings are expected in the coming weeks.

Lawyers argue for ‘inappropriate’ detention

Griner’s lawyers have already presented some arguments claiming that the basketball player’s detention was not handled properly after she was arrested on February 17 by staff at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

His detention, search and arrest were “inappropriate”, said Alexander Boykov, one of his lawyers, last week, noting that more details would be revealed during oral arguments.

After being arrested at the airport, Griner was forced to sign documents she didn’t fully understand, she testified. At first, she says, she used Google Translate on her phone, but was later moved to another room where her phone was taken and made to sign more documents.

No lawyer was present, she testified, and her rights were not explained to her. These rights would include access to a lawyer once detained and the right to know what she was suspected of. According to Russian law, she should have been informed of her rights within three hours of her arrest.

Here's what we learned from Brittney Griner's trial in Russia after her final testimony

In her testimony, Griner “explained to the court that she knew and respected Russian laws and never intended to break them,” said Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners, after last week’s hearing.

The detained player said she was aware of Russian laws and had no plans to bring cannabis oil into the country, noting that she was in a hurry and “stressed out “.

Griner confirmed she had a medical prescription for medical cannabis, Blagovolina said, which she uses to treat knee pain and joint inflammation.

“We continue to insist that, indiscreetly, in a hurry, she packed her suitcase and did not pay attention to the fact that substances authorized for use in the United States ended up in this suitcase and arrived in the Russian Federation,” Boykov, of the Moscow Law Center, said.

Griner’s family, fans and WNBA teammates continue to express messages of solidarity and hope as the trial concludes and look forward to the potential of his release.

Ahead of the trial last week, the WNBA players union tweeted“Dear BG…It’s early in Moscow. Our day is ending and yours is just beginning. Not a day, not an hour goes by that you are not in our minds and in our hearts.”

This story was updated with additional developments on Tuesday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Brittney Griner’s first name.

CNN’s Travis Caldwell, Dakin Andone, Kylie Atwood, Evan Perez, Jennifer Hansler, Natasha Bertrand, Frederik Pleitgen, Chris Liakos and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.

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