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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Brittney Griner’s Lawyers Argue for Leniency in Russian Court

Wearing a black and gray sweatshirt with the slogan “Black lives for peace” printed on the back, Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. star who has been detained in Russia on drug charges, appeared in a court near Moscow on Tuesday as her defense team continued to present evidence that she had not intended to break the law.

She was escorted to a courtroom by a group of police officers, one of them wearing a balaklava, and stood in a metal cage, holding photographs of her relatives, teammates and friends, according to video footage from the scene published by Russian state television.

After being detained in a Moscow airport one week before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Ms. Griner has become an unlikely pawn in a diplomatic game between Moscow and Washington. With her guilty plea making the verdict seem a foregone conclusion, experts said that her best hope was that the Biden administration could find a way to swap her for a high-profile Russian being held by the United States.

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