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How the WNBA Could Have Saved Brittney Griner? Joe Biden On Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner’s latest news: the Russian court sentenced U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 years of jail time for possessing cannabis-infused vape cartridges, against Russian law. The White House considered the ruling absurd. Joe Biden even called it “unacceptable”.

Brittney Griner Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and WNBA star were arrested on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, to play for a Russian team during the WNBA offseason, with hashish oil cartridges in her luggage. Brittany Griner arrived at the hearing wearing a grey T-shirt and round-rimmed spectacles. She held up a picture of UMMC Ekaterinburg, the team she played for in Russia during the WNBA summer, before taking a seat in the defendant’s box.

U.S basketball star Brittany Griner

Brittney Griner stated in her testimony last week that she was perplexed as to how the vape cartridges ended up in her suitcase while she was going to Russia to join UMMC Ekaterinburg for the playoffs. While she pleaded guilty, she said she had no intention of bringing a prohibited substance into Russia or harming anyone.

“My parents taught me two important things: one, take ownership of your responsibilities, and two, work hard for everything that you have. That’s why I pled guilty to my charges. I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws,” she told the court. “I had no intent. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”

brittany grinner in jail

She even begged a Russian judge before the verdict, “I made an honest mistake and I hope that your ruling doesn’t end my life here [with a harsh prison sentence].” Griner said in court on Thursday before breaking down in tears.

Cannabis is outlawed in Russia for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

Brittney Griner’s defense team has requested that she be acquitted. One of her lawyers, Alexander Boikov, stated that some of the case files were prepared in contravention of the law. Brittney Griner, in her testimony, also addressed the international politics surrounding her case, saying, “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawns and politics, but I hope that is far from this courtroom.” Griner was found guilty of bringing illegal substances into the country, with the Russian prosecutor has requested that she be sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison. She was also fined 1 million roubles ($16,990) by the court.

After the ruling, Brittney Griner was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs by the police and declared to the reporters, “I love my family.” Her case and verdict threw the Texan into the geopolitical quagmire created by President Vladimir Putin’s deployment of troops into Ukraine on February 24, bringing US-Russian relations to a new post-Cold War low. Her conviction may now pave the way for a prisoner swap involving the 31-year-old athlete and an imprisoned Russian who was once a prolific arms dealer. The US has offered to swap Russian detainees for American citizens such as Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

According to one source, Washington is eager to exchange convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, whose biography inspired the 2005 film “Lord of War,” starring Nicholas Cage. Under pressure to return Americans detained in Russia, Biden urged Russia to release Griner immediately and stated that his administration would continue to work for her release.

joe biden on brittany grinner

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” said the president of the United States of America in a statement. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”

Later Thursday, National Security Adviser John Kirby urged Russia to accept a “serious proposal” for Griner’s release that Washington made weeks ago.

According to Brittany Griner’s attorneys, the verdict was “absolutely unreasonable.” Her defense team claimed that the court ignored all of the evidence they presented, as well as Griner’s guilty plea. “She is very upset, very stressed,” said Maria Blagovolina, partner at Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners, after the hearing. “She can hardly talk. It’s a difficult time for her.”

USA Basketball expressed disappointment with Thursday’s verdict on Twitter but said it will continue to work with the US State Department to get Griner home.

“We will not be satisfied until BG is back in the U.S. and reunited with her loved ones, teammates, and fans,” it said.

The finding against Griner was “unjustified and terrible,” according to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

Russian officials have stated that no agreement has been reached. They contend that Griner, known as “BG” to basketball fans, broke the law and should face the consequences. Teammates and friends encouraged Biden and Putin’s administrations to negotiate her release.

brittany griner in russian custody

“I hope that, now that the sentencing has occurred, the trial is over, no more court, that the negotiations will proceed,” her high school basketball coach, Debbie Jackson, told Reuters. “I’m praying that both sides will negotiate in good faith and that Brittney and other Americans that are in Russian prisons can come back home.”

 

 

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