Brittney Griner’s pre-trial detention in Russia extended by a month, lawyer says

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury poses for a photo at practice and media availability during the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 16, 2021, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.

Barry Gossage | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s pre-trial detention in Russia was extended by a month during a Friday court appearance, her lawyer told The Associated Press.

Griner’s lawyer Alexander Boikov told the outlet the short extension may indicate that her case will go to trial soon.

Griner, a star center for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested in February on drug charges after a search of her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow turned up vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis, authorities said. 

The offense could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

In March, Russian officials said Griner’s detention had been extended until May 19. At that time, Griner was said to be doing OK and was seeing her Russian legal team multiple times a week following her detention.

Earlier this month the State Department determined she was being “wrongfully detained by the Russian government,” a classification that would allow the U.S. government to more aggressively secure her release.

The decorated 31-year-old has won two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA championship with the Mercury, and in the winter has played in Russia for the past seven years.  

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