Brittney Griner testifies she signed paperwork with out understanding what they mentioned after being stopped at Moscow airport

“I nonetheless do not perceive to this present day how they ended up in my luggage,” mentioned Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, when authorities mentioned they discovered hashish oil in her baggage at a Moscow airport and accused her of smuggling important 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 under consideration by the courtroom and maybe result in a much less extreme sentence. However the US State Division has labeled Griner as wrongfully detained, and her supporters have referred to as for her launch, fearing she could be used as a political pawn amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Griner, who arrived on the Khimki regional courtroom close to Moscow on Wednesday in handcuffs, testified that when she was stopped on the Sheremetyevo airport on February 17, she was made to signal totally different paperwork with out absolutely understanding what they included.

Initially, Griner mentioned, she signed some paperwork however was utilizing Google translate on her telephone and barely knew what was in them. She was later taken to a different room, she mentioned, the place her telephone was taken away and she or he was made to signal extra paperwork with out an evidence.

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

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

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 mentioned.

Griner testifies she used medical marijuana to deal with knee damage

Initially of her trial, a prosecutor accused Griner of deliberately smuggling medication into Russia, however Griner later advised the courtroom she had not meant to commit against the law, in keeping with state media company RIA Novosti. The hashish oil was in her baggage, she mentioned, because of her packing in a rush.

Griner reiterated that assertion in her testimony Wednesday, telling the courtroom she was conscious of Russia’s drug legal guidelines and had not meant to interrupt them, including that she was in a rush and “stress packing.”

Griner’s attorneys have advised Russian judges their shopper was prescribed medical hashish for “extreme power ache.” And when requested Wednesday how she acquired cartridges with hashish oil in the USA, Griner mentioned she used a medical allow doc issued in Arizona to purchase marijuana from a pharmacy for medical functions.

Griner had a nasty knee damage, she mentioned, that put her in a wheelchair for 4 months, and she or he used medical marijuana when her knee and ankle joint had been infected. However she by no means used it previous to tournaments, she testified, due to the chance it could result in disqualification.

“No, I might by no means threat that,” she mentioned. “I by no means needed to harm my workforce.”

In a listening to Tuesday, Griner’s attorneys referred to as a narcologist as an skilled witness, who testified “medical hashish is a well-liked therapy particularly amongst athletes” outdoors of Russia, in keeping with Maria Blagovolina, an lawyer for Griner.

Alexander Boykov, one other lawyer for Griner, pressured the protection’s place isn’t that Griner was “allowed to import” banned substances into Russia, however they hoped to indicate the courtroom “even in the USA, the place it’s allowed, she used these substances often as prescribed by a physician, 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 truth that substances allowed to be used in the USA ended up on this suitcase and arrived within the Russian Federation,” Boykov mentioned.

Some have speculated Griner could possibly 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.

However earlier than any potential prisoner swap, it was anticipated Griner must be convicted and in addition admit fault, a senior US official beforehand advised CNN.

Griner’s detention has turn into a focus for high-profile American athletes, together with USWNT soccer star Megan Rapinoe and four-time NBA champion Steph Curry who referred to as on these listening to remain targeted on reaching her launch ultimately week’s ESPY Awards.

“As we hope for the perfect, we urge all the international sports activities neighborhood to proceed to remain energized on her behalf,” Curry mentioned, when joined by WNBA stars Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith to deal with the problem.

“She’s one in all us, the workforce of athletes on this room tonight and everywhere in the world. A workforce that has nothing to do with politics or international 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 mentioned she was “grateful” for the decision, however added she would “stay involved and outspoken” till her spouse was dwelling.

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