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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Brittney Griner’s Criminal Trial Will Start July 1

  • The Phoenix Mercury star, who has been detained in Russia since February, will stand trial on Friday.
  • Russia has extended her detention for six months.
Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY

Phoenix Mercury basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, will finally see a criminal trial on July 1, according to ESPN.

During a preliminary hearing on Monday, the court also announced that she will be forced to remain in Russian custody for another six months. 

Griner was originally arrested when Russian authorities allegedly found vape cartridges with cannabis oil. In Russia, marijuana possession is illegal.

Her detention also came just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, when any remaining good will between the U.S. and Russia was effectively severed.  

Now, it’s likely she’ll be convicted, ESPN reported. Then, Russia will approach the negotiating table with the U.S., potentially to offer a prisoner exchange.

The reason Griner was in Russia in the first place? To play for a basketball team called UMMC Ekaterinburg.

It’s a frequent practice for WNBA stars to play on Russian teams — often UMMC Ekat itself — in order to garner much higher salaries than they can get in the U.S. Players could receive up to $1 million in Russia, while their salaries are limited to less than $300,000 in the States.

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