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Brittney Griner’s Lawyers File Appeal of Conviction in Russia

Following Brittney Griner’s conviction on Russian drug charges and subsequent nine-year prison sentence, the WNBA star’s legal team has filed an appeal of her sentencing, according to a report from ESPN.

Griner’s legal team had 10 days to file an appeal under Russian law. 

Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina confirmed the report that the appeal had been filed, but did not discuss the grounds of the appeal itself. However, Blagovolina and Griner’s co-counsel Alexander Boykov told reporters after Griner’s conviction that they believed the sentencing was excessive for Griner’s crime, and that similar defendants had received an average sentence of roughly five years, while a third were granted parole.

The U.S. Government has reportedly been negotiating a prisoner swap with Russia in which the United States would receive Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan, who is in the middle of serving a 16-year sentence for espionage. The United States would send Russia Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence in America.

There has not been a formal agreement reached, and Griner and Whelan remain imprisoned in Russia.

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