Griner, Brittany Griner, Russia discussed on TIME's Top Stories
WNBA's Brittany griner convicted at drug trial in Russia and sentenced to 9 years. By Jim heintz of The Associated Press in Kim ki Russia. U.S. basketball star Brittany griner was convicted Thursday in Russia of drug possession and sentenced to 9 years in prison, following a politically charged trial that came amid soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine and could lead to a high stakes prisoner exchange between the two world powers. The 31 year old griner, a two time U.S. Olympic champion and an 8 time all star with the WNBA's Phoenix mercury listened with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the verdict by judge Anna sotnikova. The judge also find her 1 million rubles about $16,700. U.S. president and Joe Biden denounced the verdict and sentence as unacceptable. I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, Friends, and teammates Biden said, adding that he would continue to work to bring home griner and Paul Whelan an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction. Outside the court, the U.S. embassy's charged affair, Elizabeth rood, called the verdict a miscarriage of justice. Before the unusually swift verdict was reached, an emotional grinder apologized to her family, teammates, and the Russian city of yekaterinburg, where she plays in the WNBA off season for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them with her voice cracking she added, I hope, in your ruling it does not end my life. A conviction is usually a prerequisite to arranging a prisoner exchange and also allows griner to apply for a presidential pardon. Deputy foreign minister Sergei raiba kov said last month that the necessary judicial procedures must be completed before any other steps can be taken. The disclosure in July that the U.S. government was seeking a prisoner swap involving griner, reflected the growing pressure on the Biden administration to do more to bring her home. The U.S. State Department had earlier declared griner to be wrongfully detained a charge that Russia has sharply rejected. Griner recognized as one of the greatest players in WNBA history, has been detained since February 17th after police said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage upon landing at Moscow's sheremetyevo airport. She was returning to Russia where she has competed since 2014. When she took the stand at her trial, July 7th, griner said, I would like to plead guilty on the charges against me, but I had no intention of breaking any Russian law.