Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to her drug charge in a Russian court on Thursday, adding that she never intended to break any of the country’s laws. The drug charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor,” Griner said in court. “But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”
Reuters reported that when Griner spoke, she spoke quietly and in English while someone translated for her in the courtroom.
“I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare,” she told the judge.
The basketball player’s legal team hopes the court would be generous in her sentencing while taking into account “the nature of her case, the insignificant amount of substance and BG’s personality and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport.”
“We, as her defense, explained to her the possible consequences,” Maria Blagovolina, Griner’s lawyer from Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners law firm said. “Brittney stressed that she committed the crime out of carelessness, getting ready to board a plane to Russia in a hurry, not intending to break Russian law.”
Blagovolina added that they are hoping the defense evidence was enough to where Griner is handed a “mild” sentence.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, posted on Instagram a photo of her and Griner celebrating her being a two-time Olympic gold medalist and announced that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris contacted her days after Griner sent Biden a letter asking them to not forget about her and other American detainees while in prison.
“This morning I received a call from President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Cherelle wrote in the post. “I am grateful to the both of them for the time they spent with me and for the commitment they expressed to getting BG home.”
“While I will remain concerned and outspoken until she is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the President read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond,” she continued. “I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten.”
She thanked “everyone who has fought so hard for BG” and asked that they continue praying for her family and “the other families of the wrongfully detained.”
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As News Onyx has previously reported, Griner was arrested and sent to a Russian prison after being found with cannabis oil, an illegal drug in Russia.