Brittney Griner to Have Preliminary Hearing in Moscow on Monday

Brittney Griner to Have Preliminary Hearing in Moscow on Monday thumbnail

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Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner will have a preliminary hearing Monday in Moscow, her lawyer Alexander Boikov told ABC News’ Teddy Grant.

Griner has remained detained for 129 days after she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for allegedly possessing vape cartridges with hashish oil in her baggage.

A Russian court extended Griner’s detention until at least July 2. She faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of smuggling a narcotic substance.

Early on, those close to the 31-year-old largely remained quiet in the hope the matter could be resolved behind the scenes. There was also a fear her arrest could become a geopolitical issue if it garnered sufficient public attention.

However, that hope has largely gone out the window.

The United States officially classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” in early May. On June 13, a contingent of Mercury representatives met with officials from the U.S. State Department.

Phoenix Mercury @PhoenixMercury

The Phoenix Mercury players, coaches, staff and WNBPA staff met this morning with members of the United States Department of State to discuss the status of Brittney Griner’s wrongful detention in Russia.

Phoenix Mercury @PhoenixMercury

One day later came news of Griner’s detention getting extended.

“I’ve seen the reports emanate from Russia that her detention has been extended,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. “Our position for some time on this has been very clear: Brittney Griner should not be detained.”

The extent to which the U.S. government is helping the Griner family has come under scrutiny in recent days, though.

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Griner’s wife, Cherelle, told Eric Tucker and Doug Feinberg of the AP she was unable to speak with Griner because phone calls Griner made to the U.S. embassy in Russia went unanswered.

According to the report, Griner was instructed to call the embassy, at which point she would’ve been forwarded to Cherelle in Phoenix. However, nobody was at the embassy desk to answer the phone.

The State Department described it as a “logistical error.”

Price said the call “will take place in relatively short order” without specifying when Brittney and Cherelle will have another opportunity to converse with one another.

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