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BRITTNEY Griner hid her face and hunched over after a judge denied her request for house arrest and ordered her to remain behind bars in a Russian jail for another month.

The shackled WNBA star was spotted wearing an orange Air Jordan sweatshirt during her hearing on Friday and left the courtroom with a hood up over her head.

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was photographed after her court hearing in Russia on FridayCredit: AP
The Phoenix Mercury All-Star center has been jailed in Russia since February on alleged drug smuggling chargesCredit: AP
Griner was pictured leaving the courtroom with a hood up over her headCredit: AP

After the hearing, Griner's lawyer Alexander Boikov told the Associated Press that he believes the relatively short extension of the detention indicated the case would come to trial soon.

The State Department said in an email that it couldn't answer specific questions about the case "due to operational and privacy concerns" but remain optimistic.

"We do believe that we can best and most effectively achieve potentially successful outcomes if we do have space to conduct private conversations," the state department told The Sun.

"We are closely engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Ms Griner’s legal team. Diplomats from the US Embassy in Moscow attended the hearing on May 13 and were able to speak with Ms. Griner."

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When asked if Griner was injured and how she's doing, the State Department said, "She is doing as well as can be expected in these circumstances.

"We remain in regular contact with the families of those held hostage or wrongfully detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure we are communicating and sharing information in a way useful to our families."

The Phoenix Mercury All-Star has been jailed in Russia since February on alleged drug smuggling charges - an imprisonment the Biden administration has determined to be "unlawful".

Griner, who was visiting Russia to compete for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA's off-season, was detained at the Moscow airport after a scan allegedly revealed that she had cartridges containing "liquid with hashish oil" in her luggage.

As a result, a criminal case was opened, and she was arrested.

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The offense could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

On May 2, the State Department said the US will more aggressively work to secure the WNBA All-Star's release even as the legal case against her plays out.

Her team has expressed support for her since her arrest.


“The U.S. government will continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner,” the department said.

“Brittney has been detained for 75 days, and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, previously told the AP.

Legal expert Aron Solomon told The US Sun he believes the accusations against two-time Olympian are fabricated.

"She’s a hostage, a political detainee, whatever you want to call it," said Solomon, who is Esquire's Digital Chief Legal Analyst, even if the US won't officially acknowledge it.

"Russia knew they were going into Ukraine, and they needed political prisoners. They looked around for the highest-profile athlete, and that was Griner, and they grabbed her at the airport."


Russian state media outlet TASS previously reported that Griner's only grievance in Russian captivity is that the beds are too small for her 6-foot-9 frame, claiming the WNBA star had "no complaints about the conditions of detention."

However, Solomon previously told The US Sun the star's scenario could be far worse than reported.

"The literal worst-case scenario here is that she is physically harmed, intentionally or not," Solomon said.

"How safe can it be for her to be in a Moscow jail?"

Solomon claims that because of the WNBA's small fan base, Griner's incarceration isn't receiving the national attention it should.

"This is the real issue. If this was Kyrie Irving, this would be on the front page of papers every day," he said.

"We'd have #FreeKyrie hashtags at the top of trending topics every day. That we aren't doing a collective better job of what Britney Spears' fans did with the #FreeBritney hashtag is a real shame."

A mugshot of Brittney Griner in Russian custodyCredit: Russia 24/CNN
Griner is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and a WNBA championCredit: AP
Fear continues to mount over Griner's imprisonment conditionsCredit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office


Hopes for Griner's potential release bloomed after former Marine Trevor Reed was freed in a prisoner swap with Russia last week.

Prior to his release, Reed had been jailed in a Russian prison for 985 days after being accused of intentionally endangering the lives of government officials in the line of duty.

Russian cops claimed that Reed got drunk and grabbed the arm of an officer as he was being taken to a station in allegations that US officials dismissed as “preposterous.”

The Texas veteran was handed a nine-year prison sentence for the supposed crime.

Despite the prisoner swap release that freed Reed, Solomon doesn't see it as a positive sign for Griner.

"Contrary to the belief of many observers, I don't see Trevor Reed's release as a positive sign for Brittney Griner," Solomon previously told The US Sun.

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"In the Reed case, both Russian and the US found a suitable swap - we can safely assume that this took many months of negotiation.

"Assuming that Russia and the US don't yet have a suitable exchange for Griner, we stay where we are today."

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