Oct 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Brittney Griner's appeal date scheduled for Oct. 25

Photo of Brittney Griner in handcuffs and escorted by prison guards

U.S. Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner leaves the courtroom after a Russian court's verdict in Khimki outside Moscow on Aug. 4, 2022. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

A Moscow region court on Monday set WNBA star Brittney Griner's appeal date for Oct. 25 after she was sentenced to nine years in prison over drug charges, AP reports.

Driving the news: Griner’s lawyers have argued that the punishment — just under the 10-year maximum — was excessive, per AP.

  • Griner has been detained since February and maintains that she had "no intent" to break the law by bringing vape cartridges into Russia.
  • Her lawyers told a Russian court in July that doctors in the U.S. prescribed Griner medical cannabis for chronic pain.
  • U.S. officials have said that she is "wrongfully detained" by Russia.

The big picture: The new date comes months after the U.S. proposed prisoner swaps with Russia for Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, but there haven't been any public plans.

  • Russia confirmed in August that it was negotiating with the U.S. about the potential exchange.
  • The Biden administration earlier this year conducted a prisoner swap with Russia, seeing former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed released in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian citizen serving a 20-year sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the U.S.

Worth noting: President Biden met with Griner and Whelan's families in September "to reiterate his continued commitment to working through all available avenues to bring Brittney and Paul home safely" from Russian detainment, according to the White House.

Go deeper