Brittney Griner’s trial nears an end with closing arguments.


Aleksandr Boikov, one of Ms. Griner’s lawyers, said on Wednesday that the defense would deliver its closing arguments on Thursday, since it has finished its case and does not plan to call any additional witnesses. He said that Ms. Griner would have the opportunity to make a final statement, and that then Anna S. Sotnikova, the judge, would begin forming her verdict.

The Biden administration has been under pressure from Ms. Griner’s wife and supporters to negotiate her freedom.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that the U.S. government had “put a substantial proposal on the table” to the Russian side regarding Ms. Griner and other Americans held in Russian custody. Mr. Blinken then discussed the matter with his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, last week, in their first phone call since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but no breakthroughs were reported.

Russian officials have insisted that the diplomatic wrangling over Ms. Griner should remain behind closed doors. Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, said on Tuesday that negotiations over a potential prisoner exchange “should be discreet.”

“Megaphone diplomacy and the public exchange of opinions will not lead to any result,” he said.

Ms. Griner arrived in a Moscow airport on Feb. 17, on her way to the Russian city Yekaterinburg near the Ural Mountains, where she had been playing for a local team during the off season. Customs officials checked her luggage, where they found two vape cartridges containing less than one gram of hashish oil.

News of her detention was made public only after Russia invaded Ukraine a week later. Ms. Griner, 31, was charged with an attempt to smuggle a significant amount of banned narcotics into Russia.

She testified during the court hearings that the illegal substance had been in her luggage as a result of an oversight while packing in a hurry. Her defense team noted that she was authorized to use medicinal cannabis in Arizona to manage pain, which has become a common practice among some American athletes.



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