WNBA Star Brittney Griner Found Guilty In Russian Trial, Sentenced To 9 Years Behind Bars

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Source: MEGA

Aug. 4 2022, Published 11:28 a.m. ET

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UPDATE - 8/4 9:07 AM PST

Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison in a ruling President Joe Biden has denounced as "unacceptable."

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WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug possession and smuggling by a Russian court, has learned.

Prosecutors are seeking 9.5 years behind bars.

As we previously reported, she was detained on February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Khimki.

Griner, 31, was accused of having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in the country. She had made the trip to play for a Russian team during the WNBA offseason.

brittney griner found guilty in russian trial
Source: John Woike/TNS/Newscom/The Mega Agency
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Griner's defense attorney requested she be acquitted, pleading for the court to show leniency on Thursday.

Her legal team cited the Phoenix Mercury center's contributions to Russian basketball and how she had been prescribed medical marijuana by a U.S. doctor to treat chronic pain.

"My parents taught me two important things," Griner explained about her decision to plead guilty on July 7.

"Take ownership for your responsibilities and work hard for everything that you have," she said. "That's why I plead guilty to my charges. I understand the charges against me. I had no intent to break any Russian laws. I want the courts to understand it was an honest mistake."

brittney griner found guilty in russian trial
Source: MEGA
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Griner highlighted that she was rushing back to her teammates after recovering from COVID-19.

"I want to apologize to the fans and my teammates for the embarrassment," she said while fighting back tears.

"I want to apologize to my parents and siblings, the Phoenix Mercury and WNBA organization," the Olympian continued. "I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here."

During the hearing, prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko asked the court to fine Griner 1 million rubles, roughly $16,700, in addition to the prison sentence.

Today's development leaves many turning their attention to reports of a prisoner swap.

America has called on Russia to free Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in exchange for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

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Meanwhile, Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, has continued to plead for her return home.

"I want to thank everyone who has fought so hard for BG. It means the world to my entire family as well as my wife," she shared last month. "Please continue to pray for my family and all the other families of the wrongfully detained, as our pain remains active until our loved ones are brought home."



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