Brittney Griner’s lawyer presented the Moscow court with a letter from an Arizona doctor recommending that the Olympic gold medalist use cannabis to treat pain and chronic injury, a Reuters journalist in the courtroom reported Friday at Griner's fourth court appearance.
"The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis," Griner's lawyer, Maria Blagovolina told Reuters. "The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health."
Griner's defense team submitted documents on Friday arguing she'd mistakenly brought the vape cartridges into Russia because of hasty packing.
"Among the medical documents is a doctor's note for the substance that Brittney Griner inadvertently left among her belongings when crossing the border," the lawyer said.
"The defense today provided written evidence, including character materials, medical documents and tax returns," Blagovolina said.
The defense also submitted tests Griner had undergone as part of an anti-doping check, which did not detect any prohibited substances in her system.
This is Griner’s fourth court hearing since her February 17 arrest when officials at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport found vape cartridges in her suitcase. Last Friday Griner admitted to the court that she had cannabis oil in her bag.
At the time of her detention, Griner was returning to Russia where she played basketball during the off season for the UMMC Ekaterinburg team.
Since the guilty plea, her court sessions have focused on in-person and written testimonies of her good character and her athletic ability. Several letters from her Russian teammates and fans have also come to light, including comments from the director and team captain of UMMC Ekaterinburg who testified on Griner’s behalf Thursday.
U.S. Embassy charge d'affaires Elizabeth Rood spoke outside the courthouse in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, where the court is located.
"In the hearings yesterday and today, what became very clear is the tremendous amount of respect and admiration both in the United States and here in Russia where Miss Griner has been playing basketball for seven years, not only for her professional achievements but for her character and integrity."
Griner's next hearing is scheduled for July 26.
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