Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges During Appearance in Russian Court – The U.S. government has designated Brittney Griner as having been “wrongfully detained” after she entered a guilty plea on Thursday in a Russian court on drug-related charges.
Griner pleaded guilty, according to Reuters’ courtroom report. She could receive a sentence of up to 10 years, but domestic pressure for her release is increasing.
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Griner, who has been in Russian detention since February 17, spoke on Thursday during the second day of her trial in a Moscow suburb.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”
According to Reuters, Griner spoke in English before having it translated into Russian for the court.
According to Reuters, Griner is scheduled to return to court on Thursday. Her guilty plea is unlikely to make much of a difference because her pretrial detention was prolonged by another six months on Monday.
Griner was detained by Russian officials on February 17 at a Moscow-area airport for reportedly possessing hashish oil in vape cartridges. After Russia invaded Ukraine and tensions with the United States and the rest of the world grew, her detention was not made public for several weeks.
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In May, the U.S. designated Griner as having been “wrongfully held.” President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called Griner’s wife, Cherelle, on Wednesday. Cherelle Griner pressed for increased urgency to release Griner during public appearances in the media.