Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charge in Russian court

Moscow, Russia - WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been imprisoned in Russia for almost five months, pleaded guilty to a drug offense in a court near Moscow on Thursday, according to several Russian news agencies.

Brittney Griner appeared in a Russian court again on Thursday, when she pleaded guilty to a drug offense.
Brittney Griner appeared in a Russian court again on Thursday, when she pleaded guilty to a drug offense.  © REUTERS

Griner also said she had not intended to commit a crime, but had packed in a hurry, the Interfax agency reported from the courtroom.

She was arrested on February 17 after being accused of having cannabis oil in her luggage. The twice Olympic champion and star of the Phoenix Mercury usually plays in Russia in the US off-season.

She was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and has since been in pre-trial detention, which was last extended until December 20.

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The trial is scheduled to continue on July 14 and she faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Griner had directly asked President Joe Biden for help in a letter delivered on Monday, to which he drafted a response yesterday, according to administration officials. Biden also had a telephone call with the athlete's wife, Cherelle, pledging to continue "working to secure Brittney's release as soon as possible."

The US believes the case is politically motivated amid a collapse in relations following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin, however, denies this.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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