WACO, Texas — WNBA basketball player and American citizen Brittney Griner appeared in a Russian court on Friday.
It was the first day of her trial more than four months after Russian airport authorities say they found cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage.
"The Russian Federation has wrongfully detained Ms. Griner," Deputy Chief of Mission at US Embassy in Moscow Elizabeth Rood told reporters following the court appearance. "Wrongful detention is unacceptable wherever it occurs and it endangers the safety of everyone traveling, living, working, and studying abroad."
The State Department has been working to bring her home since they say she was unlawfully detained.
"It puts her case in a certain category in which we make the official determination that it's not legally appropriate and there is something else behind it," Former US Ambassador Larry Napper told 25 News.
As the US works to bring her home, a preliminary hearing earlier this week extended her detention through December. If Griner is found guilty, she can face up to ten years in prison.
"We're doing everything we can to make sure she is being treated fairly by Russian courts," Napper said. "But there's a parallel track in which we are very likely are pursuing a negotiation that could lead to an exchange for her for somebody the Unites States is holding."
Despite a lot of uncertainty, it seems the former Baylor Bear is staying optimistic.
"I did have the opportunity to talk to Ms. Griner in the courtroom," Rood said. "She is doing as well as can be expected and she asked me to convey that she is in good spirits and keeping up the faith."