Brittney Griner is testifying in a Russian court today, a potentially key moment in her trial on drugs charges that could see the American basketball star face up to 10 years in prison.

Griner arrived at the court in Moscow wearing a black Nike ‘Phoenix basketball’ hooded sweater and flanked by security personnel.

She was escorted through a corridor filled with news media, and into a defendant’s cage inside the courtroom.

Brittany Griner was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after Russian authorities said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. Medicinal and recreational cannabis are legal in many U.S. states, but both are prohibited in Russia.

The dominating center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Griner’s lawyers argue that she packed her bags quickly and didn’t intend to bring the vape cannisters into Russia.

In her last appearance of the weekslong proceedings at Khimki regional court near Moscow, her defense team argued Tuesday that, like many international athletes, she uses medicinal marijuana to help with injury pain.

Tuesdays  hearing started around 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET), and  opened with Griner being cross-examined by the defense.

She told defense lawyer Maria Blagovolina of how, after she went through passport control and security at the Moscow airport on Feb. 17, a staff member with a dog asked her to open her bags, before finding two cartridges.

“Another worker opened the cartridges, smelled them and then her passport was taken and she signed some documents that she needed Google translate to understand”, Griner said. There was an interpreter but she didn’t explain what she was signing, and she was never read her rights, she added.

By this time she had missed her connecting flight to Yekaterinburg, the central city where she plays basketball in the Russian premier league. She called her lawyer, but her phone was then confiscated and her lawyers were not allowed to see her until the early hours of the next morning, Griner told the court.

“At that point it felt like I was being held against my will,” she said. “I asked again what’s going on and when can I see my lawyer. I was then told I have to be interrogated.”

Brittany we are all praying for your safe return home. “FREE BRITTANY GRINER” See what folks on Twitter are saying:

  • Chris Mosier


  • Dawn Staley

  • Kareem -Abdul Jabbar

  • Senator Mark Kelly