clearn.png
Wednesday August 10th, 2022 12:53AM

WNBA's Griner tells court of poor translation at her arrest

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner testified at her drug possession trial in Russia that an interpreter translated only a fraction of what was said during questioning when she was detained at Moscow's airport in February and that officials told her to sign documents without explaining what they said.

In her first testimony in the trial under questioning from the prosecution, Griner also said that besides the poor translation at the airport, she received received neither an explanation of her rights nor access to a lawyer during the initial hours of her detention. She said she used a translation app on her phone to get the basic idea of what she was told.

Griner has been held since mid-February after police said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She has pleaded guilty to the charges but says she had no criminal intent in bringing them into the country and packed in haste for her return to play in a Russian basketball league during the WNBA's offseason.

Her arrest came at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington ahead of Russia sending troops into Ukraine later that month. The slow-moving trial and Griner’s five months of detention have raised strong criticism among teammates and supporters in the United States, which has formally declared her to be “wrongfully detained” — a designation sharply rejected by Russian officials.

Griner, 31, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Trials in Russia proceed even after a guilty plea, and there has been speculation that her admission was a bid to move the legal process along in hopes of a possible prisoner swap.

At the start of Wednesday's session, Griner’s lawyers asked that she be allowed to testify outside the cage that is standard for defendants in Russian courts, arguing it was too small for the 6-foot-9 (206-centimeter) athlete to testify while standing. The judge denied the request but allowed her to speak while seated.

During her testimony, the Phoenix Mercury standout and two-time Olympic gold medalist described making a grueling 13-hour flight to Moscow from Arizona while recovering from COVID-19. Griner said she still does not know how the cannabis oil ended up in her luggage but explained she had a doctor’s recommendation for using it to address chronic pain.

She recalled getting pulled aside at the airport on Feb. 17 after inspectors found the cartridges.

Along with the interpreter who provided an incomplete translation, Griner said she received neither an explanation of her rights nor access to a lawyer and was instructed to sign documents without explaining what they said.

After hours of proceedings she did not understand, she was allowed to hand over her personal belongings to a lawyer before being led away in handcuffs, Griner said. She said she received only a cursory translation of the allegations during a Feb. 19 hearing where a court sanctioned her arrest.

Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, told reporters after Wednesday’s session that Griner “repeatedly underlined that she had no intention to bring the forbidden substances into Russia.”

The next trial session was set for Aug. 2. Griner's trial began July 1 in the Moscow suburb of Khimki where Sheremetyevo Airport is located, and it is unclear how long it will last. The court has held five previous sessions that were short, and her detention has been authorized until Dec. 20.

On Tuesday, a Russian neuropsychologist testified about global use of medicinal cannabis, which is illegal in Russia. Griner’s defense team has submitted to the court a U.S. doctor’s letter recommending she use cannabis for pain.

Griner said Wednesday she used medicinal cannabis for relief from pain due to injuries sustained during her career, adding that it is widely used in the U.S. because it has fewer negative effects than some other painkillers

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said last week that the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use in parts of the U.S. had no bearing on what happens in Russia.

Elizabeth Rood, the U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires who has been attending the trial, said Griner was feeling well.

“We are going to continue to monitor the case of Ms. Griner very closely, as well as the case of all U.S. citizens detained or in prison in Russia,” she said.

Some of Griner's supporters contend she is being held in Russia as a pawn, possibly for a prisoner swap. American soccer notable Megan Rapinoe last week said “she’s being held as a political prisoner, obviously.”

Russian media have speculated that Griner could be exchanged for prominent Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, may also figure in an exchange.

U.S. officials have not commented on the prospects for such a trade. Russian officials have said no exchange could be discussed until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against Griner.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Business, AP Sports - WNBA
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New rule to thwart railroad efforts to cut train crews to 1
Railroads will be required to maintain two-person crews under a new rule announced Wednesday that will thwart the industry’s efforts to cut crews down to one person
1:02PM ( 5 minutes ago )
You didn't win Mega Millions. Here's when you can go for $1B
A giant Mega Millions lottery jackpot ballooned to $1.02 billion after no one matched all six numbers and won the top prize
12:58PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Power line kills 4 at anti-UN protest in eastern Congo
Officials say four people demonstrating against the United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo were killed when a high-voltage power line fell on them
12:41PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
WNBA's Griner tells court of poor translation at her arrest
WNBA star Brittney Griner testified at her drug possession trial in Russia  that an interpreter translated only a fraction of what was said during questioning when she was detained at Moscow’s airport in February and officials told her to sign documents without giving an explanation
12:12PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Democrat Alex Lasry to drop out of Wisconsin Senate race
Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry plans to drop out of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, less than two weeks before the Democratic primary
12:11PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Ganassi sues IndyCar champion Palou over contract disupte
The fight over IndyCar champion Alex Palou is headed to court as Chip Ganassi Racing filed a civil lawsuit in Indiana against the Spanish driver who is attempting to leave the team at the end of the season
10:30AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Plum's 3's lead Aces over Sky in WNBA Commissioner's Cup.
Kelsey Plum scored 12 of her 24 points in the first quarter as the Las Vegas Aces raced to an early 23-point lead, then held on for a 93-83 victory over the Chicago Sky to win the second WNBA Commissioner’s Cup championship
12:35AM ( 12 hours ago )
New York Liberty control own destiny in playoff chase
The New York Liberty are currently two games out of a spot in the WNBA playoffs
2:03PM ( 23 hours ago )
Russian expert at Griner's trial discusses medical cannabis
The latest Russian court hearing in the drug trial of American basketball star Brittney Griner has focused on testimony about countries that regard cannabis as having legitimate medicinal uses
11:21AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
Biden emerges from COVID isolation, tells public: Get shots
President Joe Biden has emerged from five days of isolation after contracting the coronavirus, telling Americans that “COVID isn’t gone” but saying serious illness can be avoided with vaccines, booster shoots and treatments
12:19PM ( 50 minutes ago )
US signs off on 800,000 more doses of monkeypox vaccine
Health regulators say nearly 800,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine will soon be available for U.S. distribution
12:16PM ( 52 minutes ago )
DOJ: Buffett company discriminated against Black homebuyers
A Pennsylvania mortgage company owned by Berkshire Hathaway, run by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett, discriminated against potential Black and Latino homebuyers in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware, the Department of Justice said Wednesday
12:12PM ( 57 minutes ago )
AP National News
Argentines yearn for Evita, 70 years after her death
Argentines have gathered to mourn iconic Argentine leader María Eva Duarte de Perón, 70 years after her death
11:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ukraine's grain is ready to go. But ships aren't. Why? Risk
Shipping companies aren't rushing to export millions of tons of trapped grain out of Ukraine, despite a breakthrough deal to provide safe corridors through the Black Sea
10:46AM ( 2 hours ago )
2 cops face sentencing for violating George Floyd's rights
The last two former Minneapolis police officers who have yet to be sentenced in federal court for violating George Floyd’s civil rights are scheduled to learn their penalties
9:37AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
US rocket system enables Ukraine to strike key supply bridge
The Ukrainian military has used a U.S.-supplied precision rocket system to deliver a morale-lifting knockout punch to a bridge Russia used to supply its forces in an occupied region of southern Ukraine
8:00AM ( 5 hours ago )
Global stocks, oil prices higher before likely US rate hike
Major global stock markets and Wall Street futures have advanced as traders brace for a possible sharp interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve to cool surging inflation
5:46AM ( 7 hours ago )
Ukraine uses new artillery to hit key bridge for Russians
Ukrainian artillery has hit a strategic bridge essential for Moscow to supply its forces occupying Ukraine’s southern region
5:42AM ( 7 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Protesters against PM nominee breach Baghdad's Green Zone
Demonstrators have breached Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government buildings and embassies
12:14PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Riot police repel protesters at Baghdad's Green Zone
Riot police have used water cannons to repel demonstrators who pulled down cement blast walls at the gate of Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign embassies
11:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
Western European powers press Iran to agree to nuclear deal
Western European powers are pressing Iran to agree to a revival of its 2015 nuclear deal after a months-long standstill in negotiations, warning that what’s on the table now is “the best possible deal.”
11:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Aronofsky, Iñarritu films set for Venice Film Festival
Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” the Marilyn Monroe drama “Blonde,” Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” and Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” with Timothée Chalamet, will all have their world premieres in competition at the Venice International Film Festival this fall
11:11AM ( 2 hours ago )
Self-described R. Kelly manager pleads guilty to stalking
A self-described manager and adviser to singer R. Kelly has pleaded guilty to an interstate stalking charge
2:31AM ( 10 hours ago )
For once, Cherokee actor Wes Studi cast as romantic co-star
In Wes Studi’s potent and pioneering acting career, he has played vengeful warriors, dying prisoners and impassioned resistance leaders
3:35PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Jack Harlow, Lil Nas X, Kendrick Lamar top MTV VMA nominees
Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow are top contenders with seven nominations at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards
8:30AM ( 1 day ago )
Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow top MTV VMA nominees
Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow are top contenders with seven nominations at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards
8:23AM ( 1 day ago )
Ronaldo arrives at Man United's training base, set for talks
Cristiano Ronaldo has arrived at Manchester United’s training ground with his agent with the Portugal great’s future at the English club up in the air
7:15AM ( 1 day ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Waiting game: Watson, Browns open camp as NFL ruling looms
Deshaun Watson is practicing and waiting
1:07PM ( 6 minutes ago )
FDA chief's long-promised opioid review faces skepticism
The head of the Food and Drug Administration says a comprehensive review of the opioid painkillers that triggered the nation's ongoing overdose epidemic is in the works
11:13AM ( 2 hours ago )
USAID chief calls on China to restructure Sri Lanka's debt
The head of the U.S. government aid agency has called on China to help Sri Lanka and other nations that had borrowed heavily from Beijing with debt restructuring, not just with lines of credit and emergency loans
11:04AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Rapinoe, King urge freedom for Brittney Griner at The ESPYS
Detained WNBA star Brittney Griner was front and center at The ESPYS
9:31AM ( 6 days ago )
Moscow says US must respect Russian law in Griner case
The spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the United States has shown disrespect for Russian law by characterizing basketball star Brittney Griner’s jailing on drug charges as “wrongful detention.”
7:48AM ( 6 days ago )
Las Vegas Aces have found winning ways again under Hammon
The Las Vegas Aces have come out of the All-Star break on a roll, winning three road games and scoring more than 100 points in two of victories
1:47PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - WNBA
You didn't win Mega Millions. Here's when you can go for $1B
A giant Mega Millions lottery jackpot ballooned to $1.02 billion after no one matched all six numbers and won the top prize
12:58PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Power line kills 4 at anti-UN protest in eastern Congo
Officials say four people demonstrating against the United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo were killed when a high-voltage power line fell on them
12:41PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Saudi-funded LIV Golf announces 14-event schedule for 2023
The Saudi-funded LIV Golf series has announced a 14-tournament schedule for next year
12:35PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Protesters enter Iraqi parliament, chant curses against Iran
Hundreds of Iraqi protesters breached Baghdad’s parliament Wednesday, chanting curses against Iran, in a protest against the selection of a nominee for prime minister by Iran-backed parties
12:33PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Ex-officer Kueng gets 3 years for violating Floyd’s rights
Former Minneapolis police Officer J
12:30PM ( 44 minutes ago )