Brittney Griner's detention in Russia has been extended once again.
The WNBA star's lawyer told The Associated Press that her pre-trial detention has been extended by one month following a hearing in Moscow. The attorney, Alexander Boykov, said this extension suggested the case may soon go to trial. A court most recently extended Griner's detention another two months in March.
Boykov also said Friday the court denied an appeal to transfer Griner to house arrest, per The New York Times.
In February, Griner was detained at the airport in Russia after cannabis vape cartridges were allegedly found in her suitcase. Months later, the United States recently classified her as being "wrongfully detained," and a State Department official told ESPN that Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens "will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner's release." Bill Richardson, who has experience working as a hostage negotiator, is reportedly also working on the case.
On Thursday, Russia's Foreign Ministry, in a statement to CNN, denied its detention of Griner is "illegal" and claimed it was based "on objective facts and evidence." She "was caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hash oil," the statement said. "In Russia, this is a crime." Russia also claimed the U.S. State Department's attempts to "cast doubt on the validity" of her detention "are explained solely by the desire to influence justice by politicizing a generally understandable situation."