Oct 12, 2022 - World

Griner "afraid" she'll serve entire Russian prison sentence, lawyer says

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner after the court's verdict in Khimki outside Moscow, on Aug. 4. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner is "afraid" that she will be forced to serve the entirety of her nine-year prison sentence, her lawyer, Alexandr Boykov, told the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday.

Driving the news: Griner was found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court in August and is awaiting an appeal date on Oct. 25. The U.S. is in negotiations with Russia about a potential prisoner swap to free Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

What they're saying: “She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Boykov said.

  • “She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”
  • “She has not been in as good condition as I could sometimes find her in,” he added of Griner's emotional struggles.

The big picture: U.S. officials maintain that Griner — who has been held in Russia since February — has been "wrongfully detained."

  • Russia confirmed in August that it was negotiating with the U.S. about a potential prisoner exchange.
  • "Not with Putin," President Biden said Wednesday when asked if there had been any progress on a potential meeting with the Russian president to discuss Griner's case, per a White House pool report.
  • Griner's spouse, Cherelle Griner, said in an interview earlier this month that Griner had suffered to "the max."
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