The defense also tried to undermine the prosecution’s case. On Tuesday, at the seventh hearing in her case, a defense expert testified that testing the substance in Griner’s vapor cartridges did not comply with Russian law.
“The examination does not comply with the law in terms of the completeness of the study and does not comply with the rules of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” coroner Dmitry Gladyshev testified during the roughly two-hour hearing.
Maria Blagovolina, a partner at the law firm Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners and a member of Griner’s defense team, told CNN that her team’s experts found “some flaws” in the machines used to measure the substance.
At trial, Griner testified that she has a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia. After her arrest in February, she underwent a drug test and came back clean, her lawyers previously said.
“She’s still focused and she’s still nervous. And she still knows the end is near, and of course she heard the news, so she’s hoping that at some point she could come home, and we’re hoping as well,” Blagovolina said Tuesday. He added that the verdict in the case would come “very soon”, possibly on Thursday.
How did the trial go?
In court Tuesday, Griner sat inside the defendant’s cage in the courtroom. The charge d’affaires of the US embassy in Moscow, Elizabeth Rudd, attended the hearing and said afterwards that the US “will continue to support Miss Griner through every step of this process and for as long as it takes to bring her home to the United States safely ».
Griner’s lawyers have already made some arguments that the basketball player’s detention was mishandled after she was stopped on February 17 by staff at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Her detention, search and arrest were “inappropriate,” Alexander Boykov, one of her lawyers, said last week, noting that more details would be revealed during the final hearing.
No attorney was present, Griner testified, and her rights were not explained to her. These rights would include access to a lawyer once detained and the right to know what she was suspected of. Under Russian law, she should have been informed of her rights within three hours of her arrest.
In her testimony, Griner “explained to the court that she knows and respects Russian laws and never intended to violate them,” Blagovolina said after last week’s hearing.
“We continue to insist that, indiscriminately, hastily, she packed her suitcase and did not pay attention to the fact that substances permitted for use in the United States ended up in that suitcase and reached the Russian Federation,” Boykov said. of the Moscow Legal Center, he said.
The trial was held in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the country’s clash with the US and Europe.
The Kremlin also warned on Tuesday that US “bullseye diplomacy” would not help the prisoner swap negotiations involving Griner. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow believes these talks should be “discrete”.
Griner’s family, supporters and teammates in the WNBA continued to express messages of solidarity and hope as they await the conclusion of the trial. The WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury are slated to play the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET.
CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Travis Caldwell, Dakin Andone, Kylie Atwood, Evan Perez, Jennifer Hansler, Natasha Bertrand, Frederik Pleitgen, Chris Liakos and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.