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Russia makes confusing link between Brittney Griner's conviction and the raid on Mar-a-Lago, saying Biden can't criticize one if he won't comment on the other

Brittney Griner
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner listens the verdict standing in a cage in a courtroom in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP

  • Russia made a confusing link between Brittney Griner's conviction and the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
  • A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the White House can't criticize one without commenting on the other.
  • This comes as the defense team for Griner appealed her nine-year Russian prison sentence.

Russia's foreign ministry on Monday made a confusing link between Brittney Griner's drug smuggling conviction and the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, saying the White House can't criticize one without commenting on the other. 

The odd comparison was made by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova as the defense team for WNBA star Griner appealed her nine-year Russian prison sentence. 

"Let me remind you, Griner was smuggling cartridges of liquid for smoking, which contained hashish oil. The basketball player herself admitted this, since there was no point in denying it," Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post on Monday, according to a translation by Reuters

Zakharova added: "At the same time, the White House refuses to comment on the investigation around Trump and the seizure of certain documents related to the White House from him. Complete silence, although we are talking about American justice and law enforcement," Reuters reported. 

Griner was convicted of drug possession on August 4 for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport earlier this year. 

The two-time Olympic gold medalist had pleaded guilty to the charges against her and said during her trial that she "never meant to break any laws here."

"I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here," Griner said.

US President Joe Biden slammed Griner's harsh sentence as "unacceptable" while calling for her immediate release. Biden has not yet commented on the raid on Mar-a-Lago.

The FBI last week raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida as part of a probe into whether the former president violated three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, by moving boxes of classified documents from the White House to there.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has proposed a prisoner swap to Russia, offering Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer, for Griner and the former US marine Paul Whelan.

"The discussion of the quite sensitive topic of prisoner exchange of Russian and American citizens has been ongoing along the channels set out by the two presidents," Aleksandr Darchiev, the head of the North American department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the state-owned TASS news agency over the weekend, The New York Times reported

Multiple news outlets, including Reuters and the Times, reported on Monday that Griner's legal team filed an appeal against her conviction. 

It was not immediately clear when that appeal would be heard.

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