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WNBA Star Brittney Griner Sentenced to 9 years in Russian Jail for Drug-Smuggling

A Russian court found U.S. WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty of deliberately bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into the country, sentencing her to nine years in prison, Reuters reported.

Griner, who filed a guilty plea, is one of the pre-eminent stars in the WNBA, described by her lawyers as the “Usain Bolt” of women’s basketball, according to Reuters. Prosecutors requested 9 and a half years and a 1 million ruble fine, according to Reuters.

Her bag contained less than 1 gram of oil, according to CNN.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Joe Biden said in a statement following the verdict. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Griner, though a star in the WNBA, plays overseas during the WNBA’s offseason, according to NPR.

“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them,” Giner said, according to the Associated Press, Thursday. “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”

Throughout the case, Griner repeatedly maintained that she did not intend to violate the law, and that she was looking forward to playing with her Russian teammates, according to NPR. Her defense highlighted the fact that she has a medical marijuana card in Arizona, NPR reported.

“I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here,” Griner told the court according to NPR. Griner referred to Russia as her “second home,” and that she wanted to “win championships and make [my Russian teammates] proud.”

Defense attorney Alexander Boykov noted that Griner was a well-respected member of the Yekaterinburg community, and held in high regard by her teammates, the AP reported. Defense attorney Maria Blagovolina highlighted Griner’s lack of criminal record and her role as an ambassador of basketball in Russia, according to the AP.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made contact with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, offering a prisoner exchange, where Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan (imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges), would be traded from Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to the AP. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday that Russia responded with a “bad faith” counteroffer, declining to elaborate further.

26 Comments
  • Fred says:

    I’d love to know where the Half-Wit in Chief gets the idea that Russia is wrongfully detaining Griner. She violated Russia’s laws and then pled guilty guilty to that violation. Now, the rumor is that the HWIC is willing to trade a criminal arms dealer for this woman. Wow. Talk about having your priorities out of order.

  • Dave says:

    And since she is black and a lesbian that is all the reason biden needs to trade a supporter of terrorist free. If it was a white male that was straight and loved America biden would not bother.

  • Rob says:

    On the bright side for her….she won’t have to listen to the National Anthem….wish granted.

  • Nanny says:

    Couldn’t happen to a more DESERVING PERSON.

    KEEP KNEELING GRINER = MAYBE THE RUSSIANS WILL FORGIVE YOU – PATRIOTIC AMERICANS WILL NOT ~~~

  • Quasimodo 2020 says:

    Stop your whining and serve your sentence. You can not say you were so retarded that you did not realive transport of drugs across international borders was no big deal. There has been dozens of movies and a natgeo series showing it is illegal and the consequences. She thought she was above the law because of her pseudo celeb status what was it baretta said? Dont do the crime if you cant do the time. Eats a bag of dicls and do yoyr time.

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