The WNBA star can appeal, but a prisoner swap now appears to be her best shot at freedom

A Moscow court sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9½-years in prison Thursday (August 4). Griner pleaded guilty last month, hoping for leniency in sentencing on charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.

“I understand everything that’s being said against me, the charges that are against me, and that is why I pled guilty,” Griner told the judge through an interpreter. “I had no intent to break any Russian laws,” she added.

The US Olympian was distraught as she apologized to the court and insisted she made “an honest mistake” while packing in haste. ESPN reports that Griner “reacted to the sentence with little emotion, listening to the verdict with a blank stare on her face.”

Griner also apologized to her teammates, fans and the entire city of Ekaterinburg, where she was traveling to play for the summer.

“I never meant to hurt anybody. I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population,” she said. “I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn’t end my life here.”

How we got here

Officials at Moscow’s Sheremtyevo airport reportedly found cannabis oil cartridges in Griner’s luggage back on February 17. She was entering the country to play for a Russian pro league, which she has participated in since 2014 during the WNBA offseason.

Griner’s trial has made political waves thanks to the tension between Russia and the US after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, exactly a week after Griner’s arrest.

Griner acknowledged the politics at play in her case, saying: “I know that everybody keeps talking about ‘political pawn’ and ‘politics,’ but I hope that is far from this courtroom.”

Judge Anna Sotnikova only took a few hours to deliberate the verdict after hearing the evidence and Griner’s final plea for mercy. Griner was also sentenced to pay 1 million rubles ($16,590) as a fine for the violation.

President Biden called the sentence “unacceptable,” but his next steps for securing Griner’s release are still unclear.

Griner has the right to appeal, but experts say a prisoner trade is now the most likely outcome. Russian officials have said that Russian law forbids the country from considering a deal until after sentencing.



Source link

Overview of the Newest Cannabinoids to Hit Japan

Overview of the Newest Cannabinoids to Hit Japan

Cannabidiol, an ingredient derived from cannabis, is increasingly popular in Japanese health foods and cosmetics these days due to claims that it can help with insomnia and discomfort. Japan’s health ministry, on the other hand, has seen an increase in...

Behold: This US map reveals the top stoner movies in all 50 states

Behold: This US map reveals the top stoner movies in all 50 states

Look, I’ll be honest with you. These days, maps usually bum me out. Maps of heat waves, maps of alarming political trends, maps of monkeypox cases. Maps don’t exactly inspire much cheer in 2022, you know? Buuuuut…what about a map of each state’s favorite stoner...

Best TV Shows to Watch High 2022

Best TV Shows to Watch High 2022

The idea of a lazy stoner sitting on the couch and watching television all day has worn itself out into stereotype. But that doesn’t change the fact that watching TV while lit up like a Christmas tree remains one of the most enjoyable experiences in this...

Cookies & Cream: Berner is first cannabis CEO to cover Forbes

Cookies & Cream: Berner is first cannabis CEO to cover Forbes

Cash rules everything about mainstream America’s sudden acceptance of weed—from boardrooms, to courtrooms, to living rooms, Berner is at the intersection of it all. Cannabis is the country’s fifth most valuable crop, and employs almost half a million people....