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WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention extended by Russian court

(Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images)

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s pretrial detention in Russia has been extended by a month, her lawyer said Friday.

The Phoenix Mercury star has been in detention for nearly three months. According to ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, she was scheduled to appear in court on May 19, but her date was suddenly moved up.

In addition to extending her detention Friday, the Russian court also denied Griner’s second request to move to home detention.

Alexander Boikov, Griner’s lawyer, told the Associated Press that he believed the relatively short extension signified that the case would come to trial soon.

Griner, who was playing in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested in February at a Russian airport. Prosecutors claimed she was in possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil.

In May, the U.S. government reclassified Griner’s case and now considers the Phoenix Mercury star to be wrongfully detained.

The shift in her status places Griner’s case under the scope of the U.S. State Department’s special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, who is responsible for negotiating the release of Americans deemed wrongfully detained.

According to ESPN, Russian news agency TASS reported that there have been discussions between the United States and Russia about releasing Griner in exchange for a Russian man detained in U.S. prison. U.S. officials, however, told ESPN that Griner’s hearing is a sign that a deal is not imminent and that the story is a maneuver to put pressure on the U.S. government.