Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison

A judge in Russia has convicted and sentenced American basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling.

Judge Anna Sotnikova said the time Griner has served in custody since her arrest in February would count toward the sentence. Griner reacted to the sentence with little emotion. She listened to the verdict with a blank stare on her face.

The courts determined that Griner illegally brought drugs into Russia, the judge at her trial ruled Thursday at the conclusion of her case that reached the highest levels of U.S.-Russian diplomacy.

Sotnikova, prior to her announcing a verdict, appeared to herald the imminent conviction of Griner on charges of possession and smuggling of cannabis oil.

A prosecutor urged that she be sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison.

Earlier in the session, with a conviction all but certain, an emotional Griner made a final appeal to the court for leniency. She said she had no intention to break the law by bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil when she flew to Moscow in February to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.

“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,” Griner said, her voice cracking. “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.”


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