American WNBA star Brittney Griner has been imprisoned in Russian since February after she was detained for bringing vape cartridges with hashish oil into the country. Griner continues to battle in Russian court even after she pled guilty to the drug charges earlier this month, and now her legal strategy has been revealed.
Even though earlier this month it was revealed that Griner uses cannabis medicinally to treat chronic pain, her primary legal defense is not that Griner took the hashish oil into Russia as medicine, but that she took it in by mistake.
“We are not arguing that Brittney took it here as a medicine. We are still saying that she involuntarily brought it here because she was in a rush,” Griner’s defense attorney Alexander Boykov told ESPN.
While it won’t be the primary defense, Griner and her legal team do wish to demonstrate to the court that the WNBA star does not use cannabis recreationally, even in the United States.
“The Russian public has to know, and the Russian court in the first place has to know, that it was not used for recreational purposes in the United States,” Boykov said. “It was prescribed by a doctor.”
As Griner’s trial continues, legal experts warn the New York Times that she is unlikely to receive a fair trial in the country and that it’s highly unlikely she will avoid a conviction.
If convicted, Griner could face a sentence of 10 years in a Russian penal colony.