Brittney Griner pleads guilty in Russian court: ‘I didn’t want to break the law’
The WNBA star pleaded guilty on the second day of her trial after being detained in Russia for over two months
American basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Russian court on Thursday, according to Axios.
Driving the news: “I’d like to plead guilty, your honor,” Griner said on the second day of her trial, per the report. “But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”
- “I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare,” she added.
Details: The WNBA star faces up to 10 years in prison. The second hearing is scheduled for July 14.
- The two-time Olympic gold medallist was arrested on Feb. 17 at a Russian airport on claims of cannabis possession charges as she was returning to the country to play for a Russian team, as Sarah Gambles reported for the Deseret News.
Why it matters: This news comes shortly after both Griner and her wife asked the Biden administration to put more pressure on Moscow.
- “As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” the basketball player wrote in a letter addressed to the White House.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Cherelle Griner, the player’s wife, on the phone.
- “While I will remain concerned and outspoken until she is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the president read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond,” Cherelle Griner said in a statement, per The New York Times. “I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten.”
State of play: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that a prisoner exchange with the United States will be difficult, according to Axios. He added that the publicity around Griner is not helping the situation.