Russian Courts sentence WNBA star and Houston Native, Brittney Griner to Nine Years in prison
WNBA Basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian prison after being convicted on drug charges by a Moscow court today.
In the lengthy trial, prosecutors asked for a sentence of 9 1/2 years during closing arguments. Just shy of the full 10 years that she is eligible to receive. In July, Griner pleaded guilty to charges with a maximum sentence of 10 years. Several sources report, that 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.”
Griner took responsibility for her “mistake” and apologized to her family, her teammates, and her Russian club for “the embarrassment I brought on them.”
Just hours later, Judge Anna Sotnikova returned to announce she had been found guilty of drug possession and smuggling. Griner will also have to pay a 1 million ruble ($16,590) fine but can appeal the verdict.
According to NBC News, a United States official stated that after, Thursday’s verdict, attention will turn to the potential for a prisoner swap between Washington and Moscow. U.S. officials are not expecting rapid movement in the effort to get Griner released but will keep pressing the issue.
Read up on the history of this case here: Russia Vs. Brittney Griner