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Brittney Griner Testifies in Russian Court Amid Ongoing Trial

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Brittney Griner has taken the stand in her drug smuggling case.

As part of her ongoing trial, the WNBA star testified in a Russian court on July 27. Griner's testimony comes less than three weeks after she pled guilty to drug charges following her arrest in Moscow in February.

According to NBC News, while on the stand, Griner recalled going through passport control and airport security on Feb. 17 when a staff member with a dog asked her to open her bags, where two cartridges were found.

The WNBA star said another worker "opened the cartridges" and "smelled them" before her passport was taken away. She also said she signed documents that she needed Google translate to understand, and added that although there was an interpreter present, she "didn't explain what I was signing."

Following the incident, Griner said she called a lawyer, but that her phone was then confiscated and her lawyers were not allowed to see her until the next morning.

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"At that point it felt like I was being held against my will," she testified, per the outlet. "I asked again what's going on and when can I see my lawyer. I was then told I have to be interrogated."

Brittney Griner
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

During her testimony, Griner also shared the impact of being away from those closest to her. "My career is my whole life," she said. "And I spend a lot of time away from my family. Six months of the year I am away from my family. My parents aren't young, and I'm missing precious time away from them."

Earlier this year, the Phoenix Mercury star—who plays for a Russian team during the off-season—was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for allegedly possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

The 31-year-old was charged with smuggling of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors, or analogues, and with illegal acquisition, storage, transportation, manufacture, processing of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, or their analogues.

More than four months after her arrest, Griner pled guilty to all charges during the second hearing of her trial on July 7. According to Reuters, which had a journalist present, Griner said she did not act deliberately. "I'd like to plead guilty, your honor," she said per the outlet. "But there was no intent. I didn't want to break the law."

Brittney Griner, Court, Russia
Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Shutterstock

During Griner's fourth hearing on July 15, her lawyers told the court that she had a prescription to take medical marijuana to treat a chronic injury. "The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis," one of her lawyers, Maria Blagovolina, told the Associated Press. "The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health."

Throughout her months-long imprisonment, numerous NBA and WNBA stars have called for her release. Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, has also rallied behind the basketball star since her arrest. "Every single day matters for me to be sound," Cherelle said during a May 25 interview with Good Morning America. "For me to be alert, for me to be attentive, to make sure that she comes back."

If convicted, Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

(E! and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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