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OT: WNBA Star Brittney Griner Arrested on Drug Charges in Russia

elmassuave
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  • Brittney Griner, 31, who plays in the WNBA for the Phoenix Mercury was arrested last month in Russia and charged with drug smuggling
  • A drug-sniffing dog was drawn to her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, prompting Russian customs officials to inspect the bag
  • Officials found vape cartridges and Griner was charged with smuggling a 'significant amount' of drugs, a crime carrying a penalty of five to ten years
  • Griner remains in custody and the team said they are 'monitoring the situation'
  • Her wife, Cherelle Griner, said the situation is 'one of the weakest moments of my life' and issued her gratitude to everyone who has expressed concern and offered support
  • Congressman Sheila Lee, who represents Griner's hometown of Houston, has called on Putin to release the athlete, citing her American citizenship and concern for her safety 
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department argued Putin will likely keep Griner as a 'high-profile hostage' and said: 'If we want her out of jail, Russia is going to have some terms'
  • The arrest comes as Russia is increasingly cut off from the rest of the world due to the country's invasion of Ukraine  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10583095/Wife-WNBA-star-Britney-Griner-pleads-return-weakest-moment-life.html

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Topic starter Posted : March 6, 2022 11:29 am
Lobo2x53
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Member Admin

That is a piece of very bad judgement at any time in Russia, but brutally bad right now.  I hope it doesn't, but this could turn out very badly.

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Posted : March 6, 2022 10:05 pm
Primordial, elmassuave, Lobodawg92 and 1 people liked
 Anonymous

I haven't heard anything about the drugs being planted and if she was in possession of illegal drugs, she should be held accountable by the country where she broke the law like any other person who isn't famous.

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Posted : March 7, 2022 11:02 am
elmassuave
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“The recent history of cases like Griner’s suggests slim chances of acquittal if she goes before a judge and the possible necessity of extraordinary political intervention if she receives a harsh sentence.”

https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/brittney-griner-russia-trial-wnba-11647005263

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Topic starter Posted : March 13, 2022 11:36 am
elmassuave
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WNBA star Brittney Griner will be detained in Russia another two months

As the New York Post reports, “Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of the Moscow-based Public Monitoring Commission group that observes the treatment of prisoners, told TASS that Griner was sharing a cell with two other women with no previous convictions. She added that Griner’s only issue was the prison beds were too short for her 6’7″ frame.”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/17/wnba-star-brittney-griner-will-be-detained-in-russia-another-two-months/?utm_medium=SocialFlow&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=NYPTwitter

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Topic starter Posted : March 18, 2022 1:24 pm
elmassuave
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Is Brittney Griner a political hostage in Russia? We may find out soon

“Ordinary cases involving ordinary people who don’t attract the interest of the state can run just fine,” said SMU professor Jeffrey Kahn, an expert in Russian law. “But if the state does get interested in a case … then there’s no telling what could happen. A phone call from someone high up in authority could decide the case, and no amount of legal argument is going to change that result."

https://sports.yahoo.com/is-brittney-griner-a-political-hostage-in-russia-we-may-find-out-soon-210220142.html

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WNBA players say life in Russia was lucrative but lonely

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi also spent many years playing in Russia and spoke of luxurious living conditions and the lavish trips.

"Everything literally was first-class,” Bird once said. “We’re staying at the best hotels. We go to Paris. We’re in, like, the bomb hotel in Paris.”

That treatment continues.

“My experience in Russia has been amazing, to be honest,” said Breanna Stewart, who has played for Ekaterinburg since 2020. “They make sure they take care of the players by chartering everywhere.”

https://www.khou.com/article/sports/wnba-players-in-russia-lonely/285-c1cb6928-ef7d-4215-a8cd-eda17c943fc7

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 17, 2022 7:14 pm
elmassuave
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Griner, who has a hearing set for May 19, is facing a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. “Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas told ESPN.

“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner,” according to a State Department official. “With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”

“A source close to Griner also confirmed Monday that former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, who has worked privately for years as an international hostage negotiator, agreed to work on Griner's case last week. Experts have said Richardson's involvement would be a crucial sign that her case has moved into a new realm.”

https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/33846524/us-reclassifies-wnba-star-brittney-griner-wrongfully-detained-russia-sources-say

 

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Topic starter Posted : May 4, 2022 4:37 am
elmassuave
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Brittney Griner's Russia detention: What Bill Richardson's involvement could mean for WNBA star

Richardson has "one great skill."

"Everybody knows he’s a hostage negotiator. The State Department said, well, she’s not a hostage. They only reclassified her status to wrongfully detained. We’re not saying that she’s a hostage. Of course, she’s a hostage. Where we are right now is Russia and the United States have been talking for weeks trying to come up with a good trade for Brittney Griner," he said.

"My opinion, Russia probably said, you know what? How about we relax some of the economic sanctions. For example, countries like Germany can pay for Russia oil and they don’t have to use rubles. And the United States was probably like we’re not giving that for Brittney Griner. It’s too much of a trade. …"

"This is totally a political prisoner, a political detainee situation at this point. And she could be there for another two weeks, two months to two years depending on when the Russian and American governments find a good swap."

Solomon keyed in on what Richardson could bring to the table as an expert in this field.

"I think an experienced hostage negotiator who understands Russia, who understands how their diplomatic channels work, who has experience like he does in the United Nations, can be super, super valuable," he said. "Him being the negotiator doesn’t mean she’s going to be released next week. It could, but it could be years. Paul Whelan has been in custody since 2018. … Who knows how long this is going to take. I don’t think Richardson’s involvement itself means this thing is close to over."

https://www.foxnews.com/sports/brittney-griner-russia-detention-bill-richardson-involvement-wnba

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Topic starter Posted : May 4, 2022 9:04 pm
redrum
(@redrum)
Lobo

He may be a good negotiator; I hope he is.  He was so costly for the state of New Mexico that Russia is about where I'd like him to be. (I do hope he's successful in this.)

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Posted : May 6, 2022 6:07 am
Lobodawg92, nmsutoo, abqpianist and 1 people liked
elmassuave
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“Russia wants 'Merchant of Death' in exchange for Brittney Griner”

This is Russia saying, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great idea?’” Pomeranz said. “This isn’t the U.S. saying they’re interested. We’ve had other opportunities to get rid of Viktor Bout in the past and we haven’t done it.”

This is the kind of situation that we want to avoid,” said Farkas, the executive director of the McCain Institute, “because the Russians will continue to seize Americans as trade bait if we agree to such swaps.”

https://sports.yahoo.com/russias-asking-price-for-brittney-griner-may-be-notorious-arms-trafficker-004449470.html

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Topic starter Posted : May 15, 2022 5:30 am
Lobo2x53
(@lobo2x53)
Member Admin

This is certainly a possible reason for the arrest from the beginning.  And if so, any connection to actual drugs is purely coincidental.

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Posted : May 15, 2022 11:39 am
elmassuave
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Contributor

Unfortunately, surveillance video clearly showed inspectors removing the drug paraphernalia from her baggage.  And, nobody since then has denied that it was hers.

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Topic starter Posted : May 15, 2022 3:48 pm
elmassuave
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Detention of WNBA’s Griner in Moscow extended by 1 month

WNBA star Brittney Griner had her pre-trial detention in Russia extended by one month, her lawyer said.

Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press he thinks the relatively short extension indicated that Griner’s case would go to trial soon. The 31-year-old American basketball player has been in custody for nearly three months.

https://apnews.com/article/brittney-griner-moscow-hearing-live-updates-0ff42a2ceab60724f86f6c7e7f81313a

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Topic starter Posted : May 19, 2022 5:54 pm
elmassuave
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Bill Richardson told Bryant Gumbel in an interview on HBO’s “Real Sports” that aired on May 24. “They want something in return…What makes it doable is that the president of the United States is ready to consider prisoner exchanges, which we haven’t (done) too much in the past.”

https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2022/05/27/wnba-brittney-griner-phoenix-mercury-russia/

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Topic starter Posted : May 28, 2022 4:46 am
elmassuave
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State-owned Russian news outlets have reported that Russia would be open to swapping Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner.

“some Americans say the U.S. should consider returning Viktor Bout to Russia in exchange for Brittney Griner and other wrongfully detained American prisoners. Among those is the federal judge who sentenced Bout to 25 years in prison but says she wishes she could have been more lenient.”

“To me, it’s unfair that he’s been tarred with this ‘Merchant of Death’ nickname,” Shira Scheindlin told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t think he’s as bad as he has been made to look like.”

“After a federal jury convicted Bout of all four charges, including conspiracy to kill Americans, Scheindlin rejected the government’s request that she sentence him to life in prison. Scheindlin instead gave Bout the minimum possible sentence of 25 years and called it “fundamentally unfair to this defendant” that she didn’t have the option to be even more lenient.”

“When reached by phone by Yahoo Sports last week, Scheindlin said her stance hasn’t changed. Echoing her arguments from Bout’s 2012 sentencing hearing, Scheindlin pointed out that Bout hadn’t committed a crime chargeable in an American court prior to his arrest and that there is no reason to believe he would have had the DEA not targeted him with its sting operation.”

https://sports.yahoo.com/how-the-merchant-of-death-could-complicate-brittney-griners-return-154550287.html?.tsrc=364

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 3, 2022 2:27 pm
elmassuave
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WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial set to begin July 1 in Moscow

https://news.yahoo.com/wnba-star-brittney-griner-trial-212623729.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/27/world/europe/brittney-griner-russia-trial-date.html

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 27, 2022 3:50 pm
redrum
(@redrum)
Lobo

@elmassuave I've been watching this air out on the news. Here goes my 62 year old arse opinion. I don't trust the Russian government in any way. but there is this. If Then. If she had CBD or THC in any form on her person or in her luggage, in a backward arse place like Russa, Then, it would make her one of the Dumbest university educated people in the world. If she had none of these controlled by the oligarchs contraband on her. Then it's just fricking like the Corrupt state that she decided to play ball in. I'd like the US to try to bring her home, but I also wish we knew the truth. Frankly none of We'uns knows. If this was a fat white, black or any other color tourist from Nebraska, it wouln't even have made the news. Griner is a well known personage, which means she needs to be twice as careful as Fred the Baker when she's travelling.

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Posted : June 29, 2022 2:15 pm
Primordial, abqpianist, nmsutoo and 1 people liked
Lobo2x53
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Member Admin
Posted by: @redrum

@elmassuave I've been watching this air out on the news. Here goes my 62 year old arse opinion. I don't trust the Russian government in any way. but there is this. If Then. If she had CBD or THC in any form on her person or in her luggage, in a backward arse place like Russa, Then, it would make her one of the Dumbest university educated people in the world. If she had none of these controlled by the oligarchs contraband on her. Then it's just fricking like the Corrupt state that she decided to play ball in. I'd like the US to try to bring her home, but I also wish we knew the truth. Frankly none of We'uns knows. If this was a fat white, black or any other color tourist from Nebraska, it wouln't even have made the news. Griner is a well known personage, which means she needs to be twice as careful as Fred the Baker when she's travelling.

Agree 100%.

It is absolutely believable that the Russians would frame a notable US citizen for both the publicity value as well as a chip to trade for a spy they want to have returned.  They have been doing it since Khrushchev or before.  Is that what happened?  I don't know.  But it would usually be my first thought when dealing with Russia (or Iran, or N. Korea). 

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Posted : June 29, 2022 2:36 pm
elmassuave
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Posted by: @redrum

@elmassuave I've been watching this air out on the news. Here goes my 62 year old arse opinion. I don't trust the Russian government in any way. but there is this. If Then. If she had CBD or THC in any form on her person or in her luggage, in a backward arse place like Russa, Then, it would make her one of the Dumbest university educated people in the world. If she had none of these controlled by the oligarchs contraband on her. Then it's just fricking like the Corrupt state that she decided to play ball in. I'd like the US to try to bring her home, but I also wish we knew the truth. Frankly none of We'uns knows. If this was a fat white, black or any other color tourist from Nebraska, it wouln't even have made the news. Griner is a well known personage, which means she needs to be twice as careful as Fred the Baker when she's travelling.

Unfortunately, surveillance video clearly showed inspectors removing the drug paraphernalia from her baggage.  And, nobody since then has denied that it was hers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-3vtL4IdbE

———

“Aleksandr Boikov, Griner’s lawyer, said on Monday that he expected the trial to begin on Friday and last up to two months…a trial on drug charges that legal experts said was all but certain to end in a conviction.”

“There’s a bias mainly because the Russian judicial system says they really should not go to trial unless the defendant is going to be convicted,” said William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Kennan Institute and an expert on Russian law. “There’s no real idea or expectation that the defendant could be innocent. There’s no presumption of innocence, really.”

“You don’t have a right to a trial by jury,” said St. Julian-Varnon, who has consulted with the W.N.B.A. players’ union about Griner’s detainment. “You do not have a right for your lawyer to call whatever witnesses they want. The entire case against you and the case supporting you comes from evidence collected by the state.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/30/sports/basketball/brittney-griner-trial-russia.html

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 29, 2022 4:22 pm
redrum
(@redrum)
Lobo

@elmassuave I guess I have trust issues, but it is 50/50 in my mind those were planted. I guess that's my point. I don't trust the Russian Government, but too high of a proportion of professional atheletes haven't shown great judgement in the recent past. I just don't know.

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Posted : June 30, 2022 8:16 am
Lobodawg92, Primordial, abqpianist and 1 people liked
elmassuave
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As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,"Griner's letter to the White House said. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/al-sharpton-pushes-biden-to-help-free-brittney-griner-2022-7

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Topic starter Posted : July 6, 2022 7:16 pm
elmassuave
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Posted by: @redrum

@elmassuave I've been watching this air out on the news. Here goes my 62 year old arse opinion. I don't trust the Russian government in any way. but there is this. If Then. If she had CBD or THC in any form on her person or in her luggage, in a backward arse place like Russa, Then, it would make her one of the Dumbest university educated people in the world. If she had none of these controlled by the oligarchs contraband on her. Then it's just fricking like the Corrupt state that she decided to play ball in. I'd like the US to try to bring her home, but I also wish we knew the truth. Frankly none of We'uns knows. If this was a fat white, black or any other color tourist from Nebraska, it wouln't even have made the news. Griner is a well known personage, which means she needs to be twice as careful as Fred the Baker when she's travelling.

Brittney Griner pleads guilty to Russian drugs charge

“I'd like to plead guilty, your honour. But there was no intent. I didn't want to break the law, I was in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag," she told the court in Khimki.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62084185

———

Perhaps she had been through that airport many times without having her luggage checked.

 

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Topic starter Posted : July 7, 2022 11:25 am
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