Brittney Griner testifies that she signed documents without understanding what they said after being stopped at Moscow airport

“I nonetheless do not perceive to at the present time how they ended up in my baggage,” said Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, when authorities said they discovered hashish oil in her baggage at a Moscow airport and accused her of smuggling vital quantities of a narcotic substance. She faces as much as 10 years in jail.

Griner — who performs in Russia throughout the WNBA’s offseason — pleaded responsible earlier this month, a choice the protection hopes shall be taken into consideration by the court docket and maybe result in a much less extreme sentence. But the US State Department has labeled Griner as wrongfully detained, and her supporters have known as for her launch, fearing she is perhaps used as a political pawn amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Griner, who arrived at the Khimki regional court docket close to Moscow on Wednesday in handcuffs, testified that when she was stopped at the Sheremetyevo airport on February 17, she was made to signal totally different documents without totally understanding what they included.

Initially, Griner said, she signed some documents however was utilizing Google translate on her telephone and barely knew what was in them. She was later taken to a different room, she said, the place her telephone was taken away and she was made to signal extra documents without an evidence.

Griner was not learn her rights at the time, she testified, and no lawyer was current.

Griner’s detention, search and arrest have been “improper,” her lawyer, Alexander Boykov, instructed journalists Wednesday, including he would elaborate throughout the trial’s closing arguments, that are anticipated in “a few weeks.”

In her testimony, Griner “defined to the court docket that she is aware of and respects Russian legal guidelines and by no means meant to interrupt them,” Griner’s different lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, said after Wednesday’s listening to.

“She emphasised that she by no means deliberate to deliver it to Russia and use it. She additionally instructed the court docket that Ekaterinburg grew to become her second dwelling, and she has all the time loved her time in Russia,” Blagovolina added, referring to the Russian metropolis the place Griner performed .

Wednesday’s listening to — the trial’s sixth — was, like earlier ones, attended by US Embassy chargé d’affaires Elizabeth Rood.

The trial is anticipated to finish early subsequent month, Griner’s legal professionals have said.

Griner testifies that she used medical marijuana to deal with knee harm

The choice to plead responsible was Griner’s alone, a supply near her said. For weeks, Griner, her household, legal professionals and consultants had mentioned the choice extensively, and given the 99% reported conviction fee in Russian prison instances, Griner was urged to weigh all of the components, together with a plea which may in the end lead to a shorter sentence .

At the start of her trial, a prosecutor accused Griner of deliberately smuggling medicine into Russia, however Griner later instructed the court docket she didn’t imply to commit a criminal offense, in line with state media company RIA Novosti. The hashish oil was in her baggage, she said, because of her packing in a rush.

Griner reiterated that assertion in her testimony Wednesday, telling the court docket she was conscious of Russia’s drug legal guidelines and didn’t imply to interrupt them, including that she was in a rush and “stress packing.”

Griner’s attorneys have instructed Russian judges their consumer was prescribed medical hashish for “extreme continual ache.” And when requested Wednesday how she obtained cartridges with hashish oil within the United States, Griner said she used a medical allow doc issued in Arizona to purchase marijuana from a pharmacy for medical functions.

Griner had a foul knee harm, she said, that put her in a wheelchair for 4 months, and she used medical marijuana when her knee and ankle joint have been infected. But she by no means used it previous to tournaments, she testified, due to the chance it might result in disqualification.

“No, I’d by no means danger that,” she said. “I by no means needed to harm my staff.”

Brittney Griner was prescribed medical cannabis for 'severe chronic pain,'  lawyers tell court

In a listening to Tuesday, Griner’s attorneys known as a narcologist as an knowledgeable witness, who testified “medical hashish is a well-liked remedy particularly amongst athletes” outdoors of Russia, in line with Blagovolina.

Boykov pressured the protection’s place shouldn’t be that Griner was “allowed to import” banned substances into Russia, however they hoped to point out the court docket “even within the United States, the place it’s allowed, she used these substances sometimes as prescribed by a health care provider, strictly for medical functions to alleviate ache.”

“We proceed to insist that, by indiscretion, in a rush, she packed her suitcase and didn’t take note of the actual fact that substances allowed to be used within the United States ended up on this suitcase and arrived within the Russian Federation,” Boykov said .

Some have speculated Griner may very well be launched in a prisoner swap just like Trevor Reed, an American veteran who was detained in Russia for 3 years earlier than his launch in April.

But earlier than any potential prisoner swap, it was anticipated that Griner must be convicted and likewise admit fault, a senior US official beforehand instructed CNN.

Brittney Griner stands in a cage awaiting a court hearing.

‘She’s certainly one of us’

Griner’s detention has develop into a focus for high-profile American athletes, together with USWNT soccer star Megan Rapinoe and four-time NBA champion Steph Curry who known as on these listening to remain centered on attaining her launch at final week’s ESPY Awards.

“As we hope for one of the best, we urge your complete world sports activities neighborhood to proceed to remain energized on her behalf,” Curry said, when joined by WNBA stars Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith to handle the difficulty.

“She’s certainly one of us, the staff of athletes on this room tonight and everywhere in the world. A staff that has nothing to do with politics or world battle.”

Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, spoke with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this month after publicly criticizing the administration’s response to her spouse’s detention.

Cherelle Griner said she was “grateful” for the decision, however added she would “stay involved and outspoken” till her spouse was dwelling.

CNN’s Chris Liakos contributed to this report.


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