Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to a drug charge in a Russian court on Thursday (July 7), but she denied she had intentionally broken the law.
The seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year addressed the court saying:
I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent.
I didn’t want to break the law.
Brittney also requested more time to prepare her testimony by telling the court:
I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.
Brittney’s guilty plea may have been strategic considering less than one percent of defendants are acquitted in Russian criminal cases.
So her chances of getting out of prison with a not guilty plea were as thin as a Listerine strip.
William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in Washington and an expert on Russian law, told ESPN in June:
Traditionally, the best defense is to admit your guilt and hope you get a lesser sentence.
There’s not a lot of examples of people raising strong defenses and getting acquitted.
The 31-year-old WNBA baller has been detained in Russia since February 17 after authorities found her carrying a marijuana concentrate in her luggage.
If she is found guilty of “large-scale transportation of drugs” she could face up to 10 years behind bars in Russia.
It’s been two months since the Biden Administration determined Brittney Griner was being wrongfully detained in Russia.
But, what have they done about it since then…nuthin.
Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, called out President Biden and the U.S. government for not doing more to bring Brittney back home.
I don’t think the maximum amount of effort is being done because again the rhetoric and the action don’t match.
When you have a situation where BG can call our government, the embassy, 11 times and that phone call don’t get answered…
You don’t have my trust at that time until I see actions that are in BG’s best interest.
Brittney even sent President Biden a handwritten letter on Independence Day that read in part:
I am terrified I might be here forever.
On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran.
It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.
After he was put on blast and received Brittney’s letter, President Joe Biden called Cherelle to “reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible.”
Brittney Griner is scheduled to return to court on July 14.
My thoughts and prayers are with her.