WNBA star Brittney Griner pleads guilty

WNBA star Brittney Griner pleads guilty

Image via Sky Sports

WNBA player Brittney Griner pleaded guilty this week to drug possession and smuggling charges. Griner was arrested in February at a Russian airport after drugs were found in one of her bags. Her wife, Cherelle Griner, wrote to President Biden to plead for her release. Griner’s next court hearing will be next Thursday and if she is convicted of these charges she will be facing 10 years in prison.

Griner pleaded guilty in a Russian Court Thursday, July 7, after Russian authorities said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. During her hearing she used an interpreter to speak on her behalf. Griner admits to having drugs in her luggage, but said that she packed in a hurry and didn’t realize she brought it with her to Russia. 

She is being held in a cell while awaiting trial. Her supporters have made their voices heard since she has been imprisoned. Recently, President Biden responded to Griner’s wife’s plea for help. He told her that he is working to bring her home. 

@PhoenixMercury via Twitter

Russia has made it clear that they will only consider freeing Griner if in return a Russian prisoner in the U.S. is released. The prisoner is a Russian arms dealer named Viktor Bout. He was convicted in 2012 for selling weapons to some Colombian rebels. It was believed that these weapons would have been used to kill U.S. citizens. Bout received a 25-year sentence. He is known as one of the biggest arms dealers. 

The Biden administration has not commented on their specific plan to free Griner or whether they will take Russia’s offer. There is also a rumor that if she is traded she could be traded along with Paul Whelan who is currently imprisoned for espionage. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in 2018. 

Griner plays center for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA. She has won the WNBA All-Star award 8 times. When she is not playing for the WNBA she plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian basketball team, during her off season. 

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