Hightower Names Robert Picard Managing Director, Head of Alternatives in the Firm's Investment Solutions Group

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U.S. basketball star Griner arrives in court

STORY: The 31-year-old, a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, played in Russia during the league’s offseason. She was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February 17 with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.Wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt from her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, Griner held up personal photographs and shook her lawyers’ hands through the bars of the defendant’s cage before taking a seat.The case against her, heard at the Khimki District Court outside Moscow, has highlighted the strained relations between Russia and the United States which have plunged to a new post-Cold War low over Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.Griner’s defence has argued that she was prescribed medical cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of a chronic injury, a treatment not uncommon among elite athletes in countries where the substance is allowed. It is, however, illegal in Russia.Griner, a two-time Olympic champion, has pleaded guilty but denied she intended to break Russian law.