He later elaborated in a tweet on Tuesday that he “wasn’t knocking our beautiful country.” “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days!” he wrote. “Long story short #BringHerHome.”
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s hearing, Ms. Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, said that the fact that she had pleaded guilty wouldn’t affect the trial’s pace.
“The court will be looking at all evidence in any case,” said Ms. Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin, a Moscow law firm. “We hope that her guilty plea would make the court more lenient,” Ms. Blagovolina added.
Asked whether Ms. Griner would be asking for clemency, Ms. Blagovolina said that for now her legal team was focused on the trial and would need to wait for the verdict before making any decisions.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has vowed that the U.S. government will not back down until Ms. Griner and other “wrongfully detained Americans” are brought home.
Whatever the outcome of the case, the emotional cost for Ms. Griner, who has two Olympic gold medals, has been severe.
“I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Griner wrote in a recent letter to President Biden, adding, “Please don’t forget about me.”
Tania Ganguli in Las Vegas contributed reporting.