In February, Russian authorities arrested Britney Griner for allegedly having cannabis oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. On Friday, she appeared in court in connection with the start of the trial.
Earlier this week, the sports world learned about the extension of Griner’s detention in Russia for another six months.
Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and eight-time participant in the WNBA All-Star Game, could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if found guilty of drug trafficking.
According to ESPN correspondent T.J. Quinn, American experts believe that Griner is the subject of a “show trial.” As a result, they consider a guilty verdict almost certain.
Quinn also said that Griner’s lawyers’ statement of innocence may not be the best way out in this situation.
“In addition, experts say that Russia is likely to require Griner to admit guilt as part of any deal to release her,” Quinn wrote. “An admission of innocence and a strong defense may lead to the fact that the Russian authorities in the meantime will make her life even more miserable.”
According to the Associated Press, less than one percent of the defendants in Russian criminal cases have been acquitted.
We will provide more updates on the situation with Griner when they are available.