Brittney Griner appears at preliminary hearing amid 'wrongful' detention in Russia


(MOSCOW) -- WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia has been extended through Dec. 20, according to reports.

The decision was made during a preliminary hearing that Griner attended on Monday, Russia's state-run TASS reported.

Griner is expected to remain in custody throughout this time, according to The Associated Press.

The WNBA star did not respond to an ABC News reporter's question as she walked out of the courtroom on Monday. The next hearing is scheduled for July 1, when her trial is expected to begin.

Griner was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia on Feb. 17 after she was accused of carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia.

"Our position for some time on this has been very clear. Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on June 14.

Russia had issued multiple extensions of her pre-trial detention. If convicted, Griner, 31, faces up to 10 years in prison.

Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, told the AP that she has "zero trust" in the U.S. government after its handling of her wife's detention.

State Department apologizes to Brittney Griner for failed call with wife

Russia's invasion of Ukraine began one week after Griner was detained. Some officials are concerned that Americans jailed in Russia could be used as leverage in the ongoing conflict.

Calls to free Griner escalated following the release of U.S. Marine veteran Trevor Reed in April, who was freed from a Russian prison as part of a prisoner exchange. Former Marine Paul Whelan has also been detained in Russia since 2019.

The U.S. government classified Griner's case on May 3 as "wrongfully detained."

Cherelle Griner told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in May that she would like to speak with President Joe Biden.

"I just keep hearing that, you know, he has the power. She's a political pawn," she said. "So if they're holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it."

Asked about a potential meeting between Cherelle Griner and President Biden, Jean-Pierre said, "We don't have anything to share about a potential phone conversation or meeting."

ABC News' Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.

Monday, June 27, 2022 at 10:54AM by Teddy Grant and Deena Zaru, ABC News Permalink