Griner Pleads Guilty, Says She Packed in a Rush

WNBA star admits to drug charges in Russian court
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2022 9:27 AM CDT
Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty in Russian Court
WNBA star Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki, Russia, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Newser) – Russian news agencies say jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges during her trial in Moscow, per the AP. Griner, speaking through an interpreter, told the court she'd acted unintentionally because she was packing in haste. Griner was detained in February at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters with cannabis oil allegedly were found in her luggage. She faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges.

Griner's trial began last week amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her freedom nearly five months after her arrest. Before Thursday's hearing, Russian police escorted Griner, handcuffed and clad in a bright red T-shirt and sports trousers, into the courtroom past a crowd of journalists. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned Thursday that "attempts by the American side to make noise in public ... don't help the practical settlement of issues." He spoke after the White House said President Biden called Griner's wife on Wednesday to assure her that he's doing all he can to obtain the athlete's release, as soon as possible.

(Read more Brittney Griner stories.)

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