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Brittney Griner Sentenced to 9 Years in Russian Prison on Drug Charges

Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges in Russian Court

Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in prisonafter a Russian court convicted the WNBA star on drug charges, stemming from her February arrest at Moscow’sSheremetyevo AIRPORT TERMINAL.

On Aug. 4, the court found Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling and in addition discovered that she committed the crime deliberately. As well as the nine-year sentencing, she received a 1 million ruble fine ($16,000) for conscious drug smuggling and possession.

Thedecision was announced soon after closing arguments, where Russian prosecutors asked for Griner to getnine . 5 years in prison on the cannabis possession charges.

In February, Brittney was arrested in Moscow after local authorities said they foundvape cartridges containing cannabis oilin her belongings.

Because the Phoenix Mercury star was arrested, her wife,CherelleGriner, has been tirelessly supporting her through the ordeal,sharing that she’s experienced communicationwith U.S. officials to get her spouse freed.

On July 4, Brittney penned a letter to President Joe Biden, writing that she actually is “terrified I would be here forever.”

“I realize you’re coping with so much, but please remember about me and another American Detainees,” she wrote in the letter, that was obtained by E! News. “Please do whatever you can to create us home. I voted for the very first time in 2020 and I voted for you personally. I really believe in you. I still have so much good related to my freedom that you could help restore. I miss my partner! I miss my children! I miss my teammates! It kills me to learn they’re suffering so much at this time. I’m grateful for anything you can do currently to obtain me home.”

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In response, President Bidenand Vice President Kamala Harrissaid theyspoke to Cherelleoverthe phone on July 6 after receiving the letter.Theyreassured her “he is attempting to secure Brittney’s release as quickly as possible,” according toa statement obtained by NBC News.

The next day, Brittney pleaded guilty to the drug charges during her trial hearing.In accordance with Reuters, who had a reporter present for the hearing, the basketball star said, “Let me plead guilty, your honor. But there is no intent. I didn’t desire to break regulations.”

Per Reuters, shereportedly added, “Let me give my testimony later. I want time and energy to prepare.”

Following a athlete’s plea, her lawyer,Maria Blagovolina, toldNBC News in a statement, “We expect leniency of the court, considering all of the circumstances of the case and considering the personality of our client.”

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President Bidenpreviously offered Russia a deal to switch convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Boutwho’s currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.for the release of GrinerandPaul Whelan, multiple sources told CNN.

“We communicated a considerable offer that people believe could possibly be successful predicated on a brief history of conversations with the Russians,” an anonymous senior administration official told CNN. “We communicated a number of weeks hence, in June.”

The state explained that the trade would only achieve success if Russia was “attentive to it,” adding, “Simultaneously that will not leave us passive, once we continue steadily to communicate the offer at very senior levels.”

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