Experts believe WNBA star Brittney Griner will be found guilty in Russia after ‘show trial’
After months of detainment in Russia, Brittney Griner is finally going to receive a trial Friday. Experts of Russian law told T.J. Quinn of ESPN that the situation is very bleak and that the WNBA star will almost certainly be found guilty.
William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, explained how Russian trials differ from those in America.
“It will just be a very dry recitation of the facts,” says Pomeranz. “There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment.”
“They let in a couple of people to watch, but I wouldn’t call it a public trial,” Pomeranz says. “I’m sure some state media will be allowed in just to get some initial photos of the proceedings, but I assure you that they won’t let western media in.”
Pomeranz speculates that the plea bargain is probably Griner’s best bet. In Russia, the chance of receiving an acquittal is very poor and admitting guilt to receive a lesser sentence is perhaps the best course of action for the WNBA All-Star. Quinn writes that 99 percent of criminal cases end in a conviction in Russia.
Griner’s detainment began in February after she was found with hashish oil at Sheremetyevo International Airport, which is located near Moscow. She plays for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason.
Griner has been named to eight WNBA All-Star Games, including this year’s game as a tribute, and led the Phoenix Mercury to a championship in 2014. Scores of stars from the WNBA and NBA voiced their support for her and asked the American government for assistance as they hope to get Brittney Griner home as soon as possible.