Brittney Griner trial: Russian prosecutors ask for 9 1/2-year sentence, WNBA star apologizes

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WNBA star Brittney Griner’s drug trial in Russia entered its closing arguments on Thursday as she awaits her destiny after pleading responsible to hashish possession after oils derived from hashish have been found in her bag at a Moscow airport in February.

Russian prosecutors requested the court docket at hand Griner a 9.5-year jail sentence. The protection then began its arguments. Griner faces as much as 10 years in jail.

Griner supplied an apology earlier than the sentencing.

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“I wish to apologize to my teammates, my membership, my followers and the town of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I introduced on them,” she stated. “I additionally wish to apologize to my mother and father, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury group again at house, the superb ladies of the WNBA, and my superb partner again at house.”

She added: “Hope in your ruling it doesn’t finish my life.”

Griner was arrested in February forward of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though her arrest and detention didn’t initially come to gentle till early March.

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WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner, proper, enters a cage in a courtroom previous to a listening to in Khimki simply outdoors Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
(Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo by way of AP)

Since then, the US State Department has labeled Griner as “wrongfully detained.” During the trial, Griner acknowledged that she had the canisters along with her however had no intention of breaking the regulation. Her legal professionals have argued that Griner had no felony intent and as an alternative the cartridges containing the hashish oils by chance ended up in her baggage as a consequence of hasty packing.

Maria Blagovolina, one in every of her legal professionals in Russia, argued that Griner used marijuana for medical functions. However, Russian officers have stated that US legal guidelines concerning hashish don’t have any impact in Russia.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed final week that the Biden administration supplied a “substantial proposal” for the return of the basketball participant and fellow American Paul Whelan.

FORMER US MARINE DESCRIBES ‘TERRIBLE’ TIME IN RUSSIA PRISON AS BIDEN ADMIN NEGOTIATES RELEASING GRINER, WHELAN

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner stands in a cage in a courtroom prior to a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug.  4, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner stands in a cage in a courtroom previous to a listening to in Khimki simply outdoors Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
(Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo by way of AP)

Blinken stated throughout a press convention that the Biden administration made the proposal weeks in the past and is hoping to talk to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the primary time since Feb. 15.

Russian media has speculated the commerce may very well be for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms vendor often known as the “Merchant of Death,” who’s serving a 25-year sentence within the US after being convicted of conspiracy to kill US residents and offering support to a terrorist group.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters Monday that Russia made a “dangerous religion” response to the US authorities’s provide. She didn’t elaborate.

Russian officers have made it clear that no prisoner swap might occur till a conviction and sentence is handed down.

Closing arguments in Brittney Griner's cannabis possession case are set for Thursday, nearly six months after the American basketball star was arrested at a Moscow airport in a case that reached the highest levels of US-Russia diplomacy.

Closing arguments in Brittney Griner’s hashish possession case are set for Thursday, almost six months after the American basketball star was arrested at a Moscow airport in a case that reached the very best ranges of US-Russia diplomacy.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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Russia has approved Griner’s detention till late December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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