Lawyers defending Brittney Griner told a Russian court on Friday she was prescribed medical cannabis in the United States for a chronic injury.
“The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis,” said Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina. “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health.”
Russian authorities claim the two-time Olympic gold medalist had cannabis oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow.
Griner pled guilty to drugs charges which carry a prison sentence of up to ten years after she was detained at a Moscow airport in February carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil.
The WNBA star was all smiles as she appeared in court wearing a Nirvana t-shirt on Friday for the fourth hearing in the trial. She has said she did not intend to break the law, and U.S. President Joe Biden has said the United States is doing everything it can to secure her release.
“The defense today provided written evidence, including character materials, medical documents and tax returns,” Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners, told Reuters.
“Among the medical documents is a doctor’s note for the substance that Brittney Griner inadvertently left among her belongings when crossing the border,” she said.
In a hearing on Thursday, a Russian basketball club director gave evidence in support of Griner, speaking of her “outstanding ability” and “personal contribution to strengthening team spirit.”
Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, was scheduled to play for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg in the off-season.
Griner first played in Russia in the 2014-15 season and had prior stints in China.