WNBA star Brittney Griner has been in Russian custody since just before Russia invaded Ukraine. Her pre-trial detention was extended another 30 days last week — a sign some experts say could actually provide a glimmer of hope.
T.J. Quinn, an investigative reporter with ESPN, has been following her case closely and says it’s hard to pin down exactly where things stand, but this could be a sign Russia wants to pursue a deal.
“What it tells us is that these are kind of the steps that you take in this game of a negotiation,” Quinn said. “It’s clear that they want to do a deal, but figuring out exactly where they stand in that process, and unless you’re one of the people in those conversations, it’s impossible to know.”
Griner was detained near Moscow in February for alleged possession of hashish oil in her luggage.
Since then, the Biden Administration has stated she is being “wrongfully detained.”
“When the U.S. reclassified her as being wrongfully detained, that meant they no longer considered it to be a legitimate criminal justice process. They look at it now as ‘OK now it’s a negotiation,’” Quinn added. “It changes everything up until now … It goes from letting the legal system play out to actively negotiating to get her released.”