Brittney Griner has been found guilty and has been convicted of drug charges in Russia, and sentenced to 9 years in a Russian prison. Prosecutors originally sought 9 1/2 year sentence for the WNBA star.
What We Know:
- A Moscow court Thursday sentenced Griner to 9 years in prison for drug trafficking charges.
- Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 9 1/2 years after closing arguments in a lengthy trial.
- This trial is happening amidst an active war between Russia and Ukraine; contention between the United States and Russia has fueled speculation that Griner is being used as a political pawn.
“I made an honest mistake.”
Brittney Griner delivers statement in Russian court ahead of an expected verdict: “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics. But I hope that that is far from this courtroom.” https://t.co/nEpVrwligV pic.twitter.com/MFBo1wmzn3
— ABC News (@ABC) August 4, 2022
- Griner went to Russia willingly to help her basketball team. Though the highest paid player in the WNBA, Griner has had to play overseas to make money.
- Griner pleaded guilty last month to charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. In a final plea for leniency, an emotional Griner apologized and repeated that she never intended to break any Russian laws but had made “an honest mistake.”
After Thursday’s verdict, attention will turn to the potential for a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia. U.S. officials are not expecting rapid movement in the effort to get Griner released, but will keep pressing the issue, a U.S. official told NBC News.
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