On June 14, prosecutors in Russia were granted another extension in the case of U.S. women's basketball player Brittney Griner, ESPN reported.
The extension is a procedural move that was expected and should have little effect on negotiations for her release, according to several experts.
The Russian state news agency TASS reported that Griner's next hearing will be Saturday, July 2, but U.S. officials have said they do not consider the legal proceedings to be more than an effort to give a legitimate sheen to a negotiation tactic. Both U.S. officials and sources close to Griner have said they expect Russian courts to keep extending her detention until a deal is reached for her release.
Griner, who's with the Phoenix Mercury, is a seven-time WNBA all-star with two Olympic gold medals, Out Magazine noted. She came out in 2013 and married Cherelle Griner (nee Watson) in 2019.
"It's something that we've all talked about intimately as a group, and now knowing the State Department at the highest level, from US President Joe Biden to the team that is working on bringing back all Americans who are wrongfully detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they're working on it," Diana Taurasi, the Mercury's star guard, said in a statement. "Anything that we can do on our side to amplify and to put B.G. first will be our No. 1 priority."