WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been imprisoned in Russia for about five months, said she has “no complaints” as her trial resumes amid the ongoing international uproar over her detention.
Griner told ABC News during a break in the legal proceedings on Tuesday that she is “just waiting patiently.” Griner pleaded guilty earlier this month to drug charges after she was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in February for allegedly having vape cartridges in her bag.
Griner plays for a Russian professional team during the WNBA offseason.
Griner also wished her wife, Cherelle, who recently graduated from law school, luck on the bar exam. ABC reported that Griner held up one photo of her wife and one photo of her teammates on the Phoenix Mercury as she arrived at the courthouse Tuesday.
Griner’s legal team told ABC last week that her Russian attorneys recommended her guilty plea, saying she “sets an example of bring brave.”
“Considering the nature of her case, the insignificant amount of the substance and BG’s personality and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes that the plea will be considered by the court as a mitigating factor and there will be no severe sentence,” they said.
Less than 1 percent of criminal defendants in Russia are found not guilty, and acquittals can be retried and reversed, unlike in the United States.
ABC reported that several witnesses have testified during Griner’s trial as character witnesses for her, saying that she had never tested positive for doping while playing and that Griner was a leader of the team.
Griner’s lawyers presented her prescription for medical cannabis to treat a chronic injury in court earlier this month, showing she had a permit to take it in the state of Arizona.
The Biden administration has faced pressure from the public and Griner’s wife to arrange for bringing the WNBA player home.
Cherelle has said that she has been told that securing her wife’s release is a top priority, but officials have not informed her of where potential negotiations stand for confidentiality reasons.
NBA star LeBron James suggested earlier this month that Griner has a right to be angry at her continued imprisonment, asking, “how can she feel like America has her back?”
Trevor Reed, a former Marine who was released from Russian custody in a prisoner swap earlier this year, said on Tuesday that the U.S. government is not doing enough to free Griner or Paul Whelan, another American who is imprisoned in Russia.