The legal team of Britney Griners has filed an appeal of her jail sentence in her Russian droghet case today (Aug. 15). According to ESPN, Maria Blagovolina and co-counsel Alexander Boykov claimed the sentence was excessive. The reasons for the appeal, however, are unclear.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted by a Russian court earlier this month on drug charges. She was found guilty of an attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into the United States after she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for a marijuana vape pen that she found in her luggage.
According to CBS News, Russia has confirmed that it would release Griner in a prospective prisoner exchange for convicted weapons dealer Viktor Bout. Bout was initially detained in Thailand in 2008 and then extradited to the United States. He is serving 25 years in prison for conspiring to murder American citizens.
According to the Russian state-owned newspaper TASS, discussions on the extremely sensitive topic of an exchange are proceeding through the presidential channels chosen by our presidents.
The New York Times reported that President Joe Biden's administration offered to release Bout for Griner and Paul Whelan, another US citizen in Russian custody.
William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said these are horrible and sinister steps to deceive American citizens for political leverage. The Russians are quite coldblooded on this right now.