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WNBA's Brittney Griner Found Guilty, Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison in Russia

WNBA's Brittney Griner Found Guilty, Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison in Russia

American WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner has been convicted in a Russian court on Thursday (August 4) of smuggling drugs with criminal intent. She has been officially sentenced to 9 years in prison and a fine of 1 million rubles by a Russian court.

If you aren’t familiar with the case, back in February, the 31-year-old athlete was stopped at an airport in Russia and charged with trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

In court today, Brittney was allowed to speak and gave an emotional speech to the judge, asking for leniency in her sentencing. She faced up to 10 years in a Russian prison. Prosecutors asked for a 9 1/2-year sentence.

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“My parents taught me two important things. Take ownership for your responsibilities and work hard for everything that you have. That’s why I plead guilty to my charges. I understand the charges against me. I had no intent to break any Russian laws. I want the courts to understand it was an honest mistake,” she said.

“I want to apologize to the fans and my teammates for the embarrassment,” she said while becoming visibly emotional. “I want to apologize to my parents and siblings, the Phoenix Mercury and WNBA organization. I never meant to hurt anybody. I never meant to break any Russian laws. I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here.”

She added that she “did not conspire to commit this crime…Again I want to apologize to my teammates for any damage that I have done to them,” the athlete shared. “This is my second home and all I wanted to do was win championships and make them proud.”

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