According to ESPN, on Tuesday, the prosecution and defense called dueling narcotics experts who each testified about the analysis of the cannabis found in the WNBA champion’s luggage when she was detained at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17. The defense’s expert claimed that the prosecution’s analysis “was flawed and didn’t conform to official rules.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist’s defense team previously presented evidence that Griner has been prescribed medical marijuana to deal with the pain stemming from injuries she sustained during her basketball career.
Though it was previously thought the trial would stretch into December, ESPN’s T.J. Quinn is reporting that sources say a verdict and sentence could come as soon as Friday, Aug. 5. The eight-time WNBA All-Star could serve up to 10 years in prison if she’s convicted, which is highly likely. Russia has a 99 percent conviction rate in criminal trials.
Taking these numbers into account, Griner pleaded guilty on the second day of her trial. She admitted guilt, saying she didn’t mean to break the law. The Phoenix Mercury center also knows that any deal for her release would have to include an admission of guilt.
That deal may be on the horizon as the U.S. confirmed it made a “substantial offer” to Russia “weeks ago.” The United States proposed exchanging Griner and Paul Whelan, an American being detained on alleged espionage charges, for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving 25 years in federal prison.
Russia was not happy about the negotiations being made public. This could hurt the basketball star, but these sorts of talks always involve a lot of tense posturing, we just don’t usually see it happening publicly.
And as if this situation weren’t already bad enough, here comes the mediocre white guy contingent to fix everything. According to Complex, on Sunday, as news of the possible prisoner exchange between the two countries made the rounds, Elon Musk posted a meme criticizing the U.S. for working so hard to free Griner while keeping so many in jail for drug crimes related to marijuana possession. He included the caption, “Maybe free some people in jail for weed here too?”
Musk may be genuine in his feelings and advocacy for freeing those convicted of weed-based drug crimes, but everything he does is performative. Sure he’s the richest man in the world, but I also can’t take anything he says seriously. And his comments will do nothing to help Brittney because he definitely doesn’t care about the life of a queer Black woman trapped in a dangerous country.