Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison on drug charges
Basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison after being convicted on drug charges by a Moscow court Thursday.
WNBA star Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison after being convicted on drug charges by a Moscow court Thursday.
Griner pleaded guilty last month in a lengthy trial that has underscored the frayed relations between the United States and Russia since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 9 1/2 years after closing arguments Thursday. In a final plea for leniency, an emotional Griner apologized and repeated that she never intended to break any Russian laws but that she had made “an honest mistake.”
Just hours later, Judge Anna Sotnikova returned to announce she had been found guilty of drug possession and smuggling. Griner, 31, will also have to pay a fine of 1 million rubles ($16,590), but can appeal the verdict.
Attention will now 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, a U.S. official told NBC News.