Report: Brittney Griner Verdict, Sentencing from Trial in Russia Expected Next Friday

Erin WalshJuly 28, 2022

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants' cage before a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 27, 2022. - Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence. (Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brittney Griner's trial in Russia is expected to end next week, with a verdict and sentencing set to be announced Friday, according to ESPN's T.J. Quinn.

The WNBA star has been detained in Russia for 160 days after being arrested at a Moscow airport for carrying vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her luggage.

The news comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday that the Biden administration has offered to exchange convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and Paul Whelan, another detained American.

"We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release," Blinken said. "Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal, and I'll use the conversation to follow up personally and, I hope, to move us toward a resolution."

Griner plead guilty in Russian court earlier this month and faces up to 10 years in Russian prison if found guilty. However, per the AP's Jim Heintz, a guilty plea could be required in order to facilitate a prisoner swap.

The 31-year-old recently said in court that she did have vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she was detained February 17. However, she said she packed them inadvertently, but also explained that she had a doctor's recommendation for them.

Griner previously sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for help in obtaining her freedom. At the time, Quinn shared a few excerpts from that letter:

"I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don't forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all that you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home."

The Biden administration reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained in May, and the U.S. State Department has been working over the last several months to bring her home.

Griner was selected first overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2013 WNBA draft and has had an impressive career that includes seven All-Star selections in nine seasons. She has also represented the United States at the Olympics.