Making her second appearance in a Moscow court Thursday, WNBA star and Olympic champion Brittney Griner has pled guilty to drug charges under Russian law for which she could be given a maximum ten year sentence.
“Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges as her trial continued in Russian court, admitting to bringing cannabis into the country but saying she had packed in a hurry and did not intend to break the law,” NPR writes. “Russia continued to make its case against Griner at her trial on Thursday, more than 140 days since the WNBA star was arrested at a Moscow-area airport on drug charges.”
At this point an expected conviction is considered very likely based on the guilty plea. She’s been detained in Russia since before the war – arrested at a Moscow airport on Feb.17 for allegedly having cannabis oil on her possession for vaping.
Washington has viewed her case as one where Russia is attempting to gain leverage for negotiations, using Griner as a political pawn.