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WNBA star Brittney Griner pleads guilty in Russian court, faces 10 years in prison

The Phoenix Mercury star was detained for bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil in Russia.

Tanishq Sharma Author

Updated - 8 July 2022 3:04 pm

Brittney Griner

WNBA all-star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty on Thursday to drug possession and smuggling charges that could during her trial in a Russian court. She could face 10 years in prison for “large scale transportation of drugs” in the country. Her next hearing is scheduled for July 14.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion came to Russia in February to play club basketball during the US off-season. Later, she was detained for bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil in Russia. The six-foot-nine basketball star pleaded guilty to all the charges and called it unintentional. She told the court, “I was in a rush packing. And the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag.”

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden sent a letter to Brittney Griner’s lawyer Boykov saying that he would ‘prioritize’ bringing her home. Biden also talked to Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner on call and told the Phoenix Mercury star was “wrongfully detained under intolerable circumstances.”

Meanwhile, Moscow warned US that ‘hype’ over Griner would not help her case. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday said, “Attempts by the American side to make noise in public … Don’t help the practical settlement of issues”.

The guilty plea could lead to a possible prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington DC. But Ryabkov believes that “there are no formal or procedural reasons to talk about any further steps” until her trial is over.

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