WNBA star Brittney Griner finally has a trial date months after being arrested at a Russian airport for allegedly carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.
On Monday, a Russian court scheduled the start of Griner’s trial for July 1 and ordered that the Phoenix Mercury center remains in custody for the duration of the trial.
Following Monday’s hearing, Griner’s agent – Lindsay Kagawa Colas – implored President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to “get a deal done” that would bring Griner back to the U.S.
“Today’s hearing was administrative in nature and not on the merits,” Colas said in a tweet. “That said, the fact remains that the U.S. Government has determined that Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained and being used as a political pawn.”
“The negotiation for her immediate release regardless of the legal proceedings should remain a top priority and we expect [President Biden] and [Vice President Kamala Harris] to do everything in their power, right now, to get a deal done to bring her home.”
In May, the U.S. government reclassified Griner as “wrongfully detained,” which was a significant moment following Griner’s February arrest.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government,” the State Department said in May, according to ESPN. “The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.”
Griner, who has played in Phoenix for the entirety of her WNBA career, also saw her detainment extended an additional six months on Monday.
“It was good to see her in some of those images, but it’s tough. Every time’s a reminder that their teammate, their friend, is wrongfully imprisoned in another country,” Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said Monday, according to The Associated Press. “It’s tough on our team. It is good to see her. See how she’s doing? I don’t know if she’s doing OK.”
“At least we get to see an image of her. Hopefully with this trial happening quickly that some things will change and that President Biden will take the steps to ensure she comes home.”