Brittney Griner's Sentencing Should Come 'Very Soon' as Her Trial in Russia Wraps Up

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Brittney Griner's Sentencing Should Come 'Very Soon' as Her Trial in Russia Wraps Up
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Brittney Griner's lawyer said that the WNBA star will likely be sentenced "very soon" on charges of smuggling drugs into Russia.

On Tuesday, Griner, 31, appeared in Khimki District Court near Moscow for her ongoing trial over possession of cannabis oil. Griner has pleaded guilty but her defense has argued that she had a medical note for use of marijuana and did not intend to bring the substance into Russia, where it is illegal.

The trial is set to wrap up on Thursday, days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Biden administration has offered a "substantial" deal to Russia to secure the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, another American prisoner.

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"She still knows that the end [of her trial] is near and of course she heard the news, so she is hoping that sometime she could be coming home," Blagovolina told reporters Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Griner's defense team and the prosecution are each expected to deliver closing arguments on Thursday. ESPN has also reported that Griner will likely be sentenced this Friday.

US basketball player Brittney Griner holds photos inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022. - Griner was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February 2022 just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. She was charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil. Speaking at the trial on July 27, Griner said she still did not know how the cartridges ended up in her bag.
US basketball player Brittney Griner holds photos inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022. - Griner was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February 2022 just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. She was charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil. Speaking at the trial on July 27, Griner said she still did not know how the cartridges ended up in her bag.

VGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty

During Tuesday's hearing — the seventh in Griner's case, in which she pleaded guilty to bringing less than one gram of cannabis oil into Russia when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February — prosecutors brought in the narcotics expert who analyzed the cartridges confiscated during her arrest, according to CNN.

Griner's lawyers then called in a forensic chemist, who testified that the arresting officers did not properly examine the cannabis oil in her possession in accordance with Russian law.

RELATED: A Timeline of Brittney Griner's Detainment in Russia

"The examination does not comply with the law in terms of the completeness of the study and does not comply with the norms of the Code of Criminal Procedure," forensic chemist Dmitry Gladyshev testified, according to CNN.

Blagovolina also said after the hearing ended that the examination's results were incomplete, and did not show the amount of THC in the product.

US basketball player Brittney Griner (R) is escorted by police before a hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022. - Griner was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February 2022 just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. She was charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil. Speaking at the trial on July 27, Griner said she still did not know how the cartridges ended up in her bag. (Photo by Natalia
US basketball player Brittney Griner (R) is escorted by police before a hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022. - Griner was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February 2022 just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. She was charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil. Speaking at the trial on July 27, Griner said she still did not know how the cartridges ended up in her bag. (Photo by Natalia

NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty

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Last Wednesday, Griner testified that Russian officials did not explain to her what was happening when she was arrested for drug possession. Griner told the court that Russian officials did not read any rights to her when she was arrested at the Moscow airport for possession of cannabis oil in February, according to The Washington Post.

While Griner said a translator at the airport told her where to go, nobody explained to her what was happening, and she described the general translation services offered to her during her months-long detainment in Russia as "inadequate."

"I remember one time there was a stack of papers that [the translator] needed to translate for me. He took a brief look and then said the exact words were, 'Basically you are guilty,' " Griner testified.

During her testimony, the WNBA star told the court via a translator that she was aware she was not allowed to bring cannabis oil into the country and said she still does not "understand how they ended up in her bag."

US basketball player Brittney Griner (R) is escorted by police before a hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022. - Griner was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February 2022 just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. She was charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil. Speaking at the trial on July 27, Griner said she still did not know how the cartridges ended up in her bag.
US basketball player Brittney Griner (R) is escorted by police before a hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022. - Griner was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February 2022 just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. She was charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil. Speaking at the trial on July 27, Griner said she still did not know how the cartridges ended up in her bag.

NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Brittney Griner

RELATED: Brittney Griner Says She 'Had No Intention to Break the Law' While Testifying in Russian Court

The same day, Blinken announced the "substantial" deal to Russia to secure the release of Griner and Whelan.

Blinken's statement, during a press conference, was the first time a White House official has confirmed negotiations to bring Griner home from Russia. The U.S. reportedly offered to swap the two for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, and Russian officials have also asked the U.S. to include a convicted murder and former Russian spy named Vadim Krasikov, according to CNN.

Both the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, and a Defense Department spokesperson have said Russia made this counter-proposal in "bad faith," according to CNN and ESPN.

"It's a bad faith attempt to avoid a very serious offer and proposal that the United States has put forward and we urge Russia to take that offer seriously," Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby told CNN.