Griner guilty plea gives Russian negotiators an advantage - Levitsky

July 10, 2022 Arizona Republic

After WNBA star Brittney Griner's guilty plea in a Moscow court to possessing a small amount of hashish oil in Russia, the Biden administration is considering what its next steps could be to gain her release. 

Ford School professor Melvyn Levitsky told the Arizona Republic that having Griner gives Russian diplomats "all of the leverage in trade talks." And in Russia President Vladimir Putin, U.S. diplomats face an opponent who "appears to care little for international standing or respect." Levitsky added the Russians are going to have to "get some equity" from Putin's standpoint, where he "can claim something that would look like he got a good deal out of it."