A US basketball star faces up to 10 years in Russian prison for drug trafficking and has been prescribed medical cannabis for a chronic injury, his lawyers have said.
Brittney Griner, 31, was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 after police said they found vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
Lawyers defending the two-time Olympic gold medalist told the court on Friday that the Phoenix Mercury player was prescribed medical cannabis in the United States for a chronic injury in 2020.
Her defense team submitted documents to support their case that they had no intention of smuggling drugs into Russia in hopes of obtaining a more lenient sentence.
In these, they said Griner suffered from chronic pain and had a license issued in the state of Arizona to use medical cannabis.
The star was escorted to court wearing a yellow Nirvana t-shirt in the Moscow suburb of Khimki.
She already has pleaded guilty to drug charges which could earn him a prison sentence of up to ten years.
On Thursday, a director of a Russian basketball club testified in support of Grinerspeaking of his “exceptional ability” and his “personal contribution to team building”.
Team captain Evgeniya Belyakova also testified in her defence.
Who is Britney Griner?
No “intent” to commit a crime
Earlier at trial, Griner had told the court that she had no “intent” to break the law, which lawyers hope means she will receive the most lenient sentence possible.
Less than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted and acquittals can be overturned.
The Griner affair comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over The Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The The US called her an ‘abusive detainee’with figures such as President Joe Biden calling for her release, while Griner’s wife Cherelle said she was being used as “a political pawn”.
Since Griner’s detention, a senior Russian diplomat has said no action can be taken until the trial is over.
The Kremlin has played down the idea of a prisoner swap, saying it is premature to discuss the possibility of exchanging Griner for a Russian imprisoned in the United States.