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Russia announces criminal trial for Brittany Griner to be held on July 1

The WNBA star will stand trial in Russia on alleged ‘large-scale transportation of drugs’ charges

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Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner is shown during the first half of Game 2 of basketball’s WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky.

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner is shown during Game 2 of the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky, Oct. 13, 2021, in Phoenix. Griner will go before a Russian court on July 1 to contest criminal drug charges.

Rick Scuteri, Associated Press

WNBA star Brittany Griner will stand trial in front of the Russian government on July 1, CNN reported Monday.

Griner was arrested in February at a Russian airport on claims of cannabis possession charges as she was returning to the country to play for a Russian team.

What penalty does Brittany Griner face if convicted in Russia?

The two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist could “face 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of large-scale transportation of drugs,” per The Associated Press.

In Russia, fewer than 1% of defendants in criminal cases are acquitted and the acquittal can be overturned, according to The Associated Press.

Griner has remained in a Russian detention center for 412 months, starting less than one week before Russia invaded Ukraine.

What does the U.S. government say about Brittany Griner’s detention?

When the arrest happened, the U.S. State Department said it would allow the case to move through the Russian legal system before making a statement about the arrest.

However, in May, the department “reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained” and moved her case to the purview of the department’s special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, per Fox News.

Why was Brittany Griner in Russia and who is waiting for her at home?

The Phoenix Mercury center was in Russia earning extra money playing for a Russian team during the WNBA’s offseason.

Griner shares custody of her 6-year-old twins with her ex-wife Glory Johnson, who also plays in the WNBA, according to Us Weekly.

She is now remarried to Cherelle Griner, who says she has not spoken on the phone to her wife since she was detained 412 months ago, ESPN reported.