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U.S. Diplomats Say They Spoke With Brittney Griner on Friday

By Mike McDaniel

WNBA star Brittney Griner appeared in Russian court on Friday had 30 days added to her pretrial detainment on Friday. Griner has been detained since February after being arrested at an airport outside Moscow. 

A United States Department of State spokesperson told The Washington Post that U.S. diplomats were able to talk to Griner during Friday’s hearing and that she is doing “as well as can be expected in these circumstances.”

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration reclassified Griner’s arrest in Russia as a “wrongful detainment”, which added urgency to the United States’ efforts to negotiate with the Russians to bring Griner back to the States.

Griner’s detainment happened after officials said they discovered vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage, and according to ESPN, the offense could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. She was returning to the country to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, her Russian club that she plays with during the WNBA offseason.

Griner’s hearing on Friday was held six days early, and now there may be some additional clarity as to why. Russia’s state news agency has reported that U.S. diplomats have spoken with Russian authorities about a potential prisoner swap of Griner and convicted Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout. However according to The Washington Post, this has not been confirmed by an American media outlet, and the State Department did not directly address the question. Bout is in the middle of a 25-year federal prison sentence for smuggling arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for its use against U.S. armed forces.

Barring a swap of Griner and Bout that would bring the WNBA star back to the United States sooner, the next update on Griner’s case will not be heard in Russian Court until June.

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Dive Deeper:
WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia extended by month
Lawyer for the Phoenix Mercury center expects cannabis case will be tried soon as the extension is relatively short
US basketball star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia extended by one month
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Brittney Griner will spend at least one more month being detained in Russia following her arrest…
EXPLAINER: WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia
As WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner approaches the three-month mark of her detention in Russia, she…
WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Moscow extended by one month
US basketball star Brittney Griner has her pre-trial detention in Russia lengthened, with her lawyer saying the relatively short extension…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Russian court extends U.S. basketball player Griner's detention
A Russian court on Friday extended the pre-trial detention of U.S. professional basketball player Brittney Griner by one month, her…
Envoy says Russian diplomats in U.S. are threatened, enticed by FBI
Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and U.S. intelligence services try to make contact with them, Tass…
Get all your news in one place