Legal expert reveals how long Brittney Griner could be in Russia
Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for a month, and it does not sound like the WNBA star’s legal situation is anywhere close to being resolved.
Russian state news agency Tass said Thursday that a court near Moscow has extended Griner’s detention until May 19, according to The Associated Press. Griner was detained at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 after authorities allegedly found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. She is said to be facing up to 10 years in prison.
Thursday’s decision extends the amount of time Griner can be detained until she stands trial. ESPN’s TJ Quinn says he was told by a former Department of Justice legal advisor to the US embassy in Moscow that Griner could be held for up to a year before her trial. The pre-trial detention period can be extended to 18 months under extraordinary circumstances.
What does this mean for Brittney Griner? It just extends her pre-trial detention. Former DOJ legal advisor to the US embassy in Moscow Tom Firestone tells me she can be held for up to a year before trial and 18 months in extraordinary circumstances. https://t.co/QgX4wBybKN
— T.J. Quinn ☘️ (@TJQuinnESPN) March 17, 2022
Griner is being held in a cell with two other female detainees who were accused of drug offenses, according to Tass. Her cellmates speak English and have been helping her communicate.
The United States government has been monitoring the Griner situation and trying to work with Russian authorities to have the 31-year-old released. Griner and other WNBA players play in Russia during the offseason. All of the others have since left the country amid the ongoing feud between Russia and Ukraine.
Russian state media last week released the first known photo of Griner since she was arrested.
Photo: Mar 12, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner in attendance of the Phoenix Suns game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports