Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty to Drug Possession and Smuggling

Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling during the second day of her trial, but Griner told the judge that she had done so unintentionally, according to Reuters.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said, according to Reuters.

“I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare,”

This was Griner’s second court appearance since her trial began last Friday. Griner has been detained in Russia since February after authorities allegedly found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. If convicted, Griner could face up to ten years in prison for large-scale transportation of drugs. 

The White House said President Joe Biden called Griner’s wife on Wednesday to assure her he’s doing all he can to get BG released. Biden and Griner’s wife spoke after Biden read a handwritten letter from Griner. The eight-time All-Star wrote that she fears she won’t return home.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned Thursday that “attempts by the American side to make noise in the public — don’t help the practical settlement of issues.”

Griner pleading guilty is not expected to end her trial; the judge will continue to read the entire case into the record, which can go on for a few weeks or even months. Reports say the guilty plea was a strategy to help facilitate a prisoner swap that could bring BG home. 

Griner’s lawyer told reporters they hope for the most lenient sentencing possible.

The next court hearing is scheduled for July 14.

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