Brittney Griner has been convicted in a Russian court of drug possession and smuggling drugs with criminal intent.
The WNBA star has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
After closing arguments, prosecutors asked for a sentence of 9 1/2 years.
Brittney pleaded guilty last month and made a final emotional plea for leniency saying she had no intention to break the law by having vape cartridges with cannabis oil when she flew to Moscow in February.
The 31-year-old said she made “an honest mistake” and told the judge, “I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.”
Brittney also issued the following apologies:
I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them.
I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.
Watch a video clip below.
Unfortunately, Judge Anna Sotnikova wasn’t moved and imposed a 9-year sentence and said Brittney will be given credit for the time she has been in custody.
While Brittney Griner’s nine-year sentence is jarring, it wasn’t unexpected.
I previously reported the White House confirmed the United States offered Russia a deal aimed at securing the release of Brittney Griner and ex-marine Paul Whelan.
Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, was arrested on espionage charges and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.
For years, Russia has had a vested interest in the release of Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, who was once labeled the “Merchant of Death.”
Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2021 on charges that he schemed to illegally sell millions of dollars in weapons.
At this time, it’s unclear whether or not Russia is willing to play ball to secure the releases of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
Brittney is currently trending on Twitter as people react to her sentencing.
Read a few tweets below.
What are your thoughts on this case?
Did you expect Brittney to be sentenced to nine years?