As supporters continue to advocate for the release of WNBA champion Brittney Griner, her Russian trial resumed on Tuesday, with her lawyers arguing for leniency.
The Phoenix Mercury center’s team previously presented evidence that Brittney has a prescription for medical marijuana to help treat injuries from her years of playing basketball.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Maria Blagovolina, one of Griner’s lawyers, said, “With the prescription in place, Brittney may have used it for medical, but not for recreational purposes.”
Narcologist Mikhail Tetyushkin testified that in many countries—including the U.S.—”medical cannabis is a popular treatment specifically among athletes.” He added that “there is no global standard on the quantity of cannabinoids in medical marijuana.”
The Houston native has been wrongfully detained in Russia since Feb. 17, when she was stopped at a Moscow airport after police say they found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage. On the second day of her trial, Griner pleaded guilty to attempted drug smuggling, charges that could lead to 10 years in prison. With rumors of a possible prisoner exchange making headlines, it is widely believed that any deal for the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s release would have to include a guilty plea.
Brittney spoke publicly to the media for the first time, when an ABC News producer asked her if she had a message for her wife Cherelle Griner, to which she replied “good luck on the bar exam.” The NCAA champion also said she has “no complaints” about her detention.
While the Biden administration has maintained that it is doing everything it can to bring Brittney home, former Russian detainee Trevor Reed, who was released during a prisoner exchange in April, thinks the government could be doing more.
“I can’t say 100% what the White House is or is not doing—that’s obviously not public information,” Reed told NBC News’ Hallie Jackson. “But, in my opinion, the White House has the ability to get them out extremely fast, and they clearly have chosen not to do that. So no, in my opinion, they’re not doing enough.”