ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn has reacted to Brittney Griner getting arrested for drugs in Russia and according to him, there are two likely legal paths for Griner.
According to Quinn via Total Pro Sports:
The first is that Griner could hire a Russian defense attorney in hopes of limiting her legal jeopardy.
The second is riskier and could either get her released faster or get her into more trouble. Basically, Griner would go the political route and try to become a political bargaining chip between the U.S. and Russian government.
Here are some tweets by T.J. Quinn on Griner’s drug arrest in Russia.
There’s little information on Griner’s situation, but experts I’ve spoken to (like Tom Firestone, former DOJ legal advisor to US Embassy in Moscow, who joined me on air) say she’s teetering between two legal paths. /1
The first is the Russian legal system. It’s better for her if this remains a legal case, with a Russian attorney helping to limit her legal jeopardy. But the other path is the political one. If Putin or someone in his government decides to make an example of her… /2
then she becomes a hostage instead of a criminal defendant. As a 6-9 Black gay American woman, she’s a powerful cultural symbol, and experts worry that Putin would use her a a cautionary tale of American decadence. This is why everyone around her is trying to keep it low key. /3
There was a case in 2019 where an Israeli woman was detained with 10g of weed and eventually Netanyahu negotiated a deal wherein Putin pardoned her. But it was a diplomatic deal, not a legal resolution. If Griner becomes a political chit, who knows how long she might be there. /4
But even in the best case, she’s in for a long legal slog in the Russian criminal justice system. And there’s little the US govt can do about it. /x.
Late last month, ESPN reported that several WNBA players who play in Russia were planning to leave due to the Ukraine invasion.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, wrote: “My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats everyday that goes by … There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family.”
Another potential problem for Griner is that the LGBTQ community in Russia says that it is often harassed and discriminated against by the country’s government.
In 2019, two people were killed and some 40 others detained during a crackdown on the LGBTQ community in Chechnya.
The Russian media has released Griner’s mugshot that you can see above.
Flip to the next page for more.