UPDATE (11:45 a.m. EST): Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison per ESPN. The length of time served will be determined by a negotiation of a prisoner swap between Russia and the U.S.
Brittney Griner has been found guilty of an attempt to smuggle illegal narcotics into Russia, according to her lawyers, as The New York Times reports.
Griner was detained after they found vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow back in February, per NBC.
In court today (August 4), Griner spoke on why she decided to plead guilty. She said that she cited her upbringing, saying that her parents instilled the principles of taking “ownership for your responsibilities.”
“That’s why I pleaded guilty to my charges; I understand everything that has been said against me in the charges against me, but I had no intent to break Russian law,” she said, per The New York Times. “I want the court to understand that it was an honest mistake that I made while rushing and in stress trying to recover post-Covid and just trying to get back to my team.”
Prosecutors are asking that the NBA star be sentenced to 9 ½ years in prison. That sentence is just six months shy of the maximum of 10 years that she is eligible to receive.
A sentencing hearing has yet to be announced.