On Tuesday (August 2), Griner was escorted by a team of masked SWAT police to her hearing as the court questioned witnesses called by the Phoenix Mercury guard’s legal team earlier in her drug trial.
Defense lawyer Maria Blagovolina told Reuters that closing arguments would be heard on Thursday (August 4) and that Griner’s sentencing was expected “very soon.”
Griner has been detained in Russia since February after vape cartridges with cannabis were discovered in her bag at a Moscow airport.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the White House had made a “substantial proposal” to the Kremlin “weeks ago” for a prisoner swap involving Griner and Paul Whelan, both of whom have been classified as “wrongfully detained.”
Per CNN, a senior administration official said that Washington offered to exchange convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and Wheelan.
Russian officials have said that no deal had been reached. Dmitry Peskov, a Russian spokesperson, called for “discreet talks,” accusing the U.S. of trying to use public pressure to secure Griner’s release, which the Kremlin has said will not move negotiations forward.