Report: Brittney Griner set for preliminary hearing in Russia on Monday

·Writer
·2-min read

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner will attend a preliminary hearing in Moscow on Monday morning, her lawyer told ABC News on Sunday night.

Griner has already had her pre-trial detention extended through July 2. It’s unclear what will be determined at Monday’s preliminary hearing.

Griner was first detained at a Moscow area airport on Feb. 17 after officials said they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage. She is now facing up to 10 years in prison in Russia, and she’s been in custody ever since.

She has had her pre-trial detention extended now three times, and many expect that to keep being extended until a deal is reached. Griner has been classified as a “wrongfully detained” citizen by the United States. Russia is reportedly open to an exchange for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, who has earned the nickname the “Merchant of Death.” It’s unclear if talks for such an exchange have progressed.

Griner has been largely isolated since she was first detained, though she has been able to communicate somewhat through an email account set up by her agent. She was supposed to have a phone call with her wife, Cherelle, last week, but that call was never patched through by the American embassy in Russia due to what they called a logistical error.

“I find it unacceptable and I have zero trust in our government right now," Cherelle said after the botched call. "If I can’t trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife’s behalf to come home? Because that’s a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call.”

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17. (Mike Mattina/Getty Images)