Brittney Griner Sentenced by Russian Judge After Being Found Guilty of Drug Possession and Smuggling

by Bryan Fyalkowski

Following the closing arguments in Brittney Griner‘s trial on Thursday, authorities came to a verdict. Per GMA, the 31-year-old has officially been found guilty on charges of drug possession and smuggling.

Following the guilty verdict, the Russian judge sentenced Griner to nine years in prison. She will also have to pay a fine of $16,500, which is a little more than 1 million Russian roubles.

The judge, Anna Sotnikova, said the five-plus months Griner has already served in custody since her arrest on February 17 will count toward the sentence. The 31-year-old originally faced up to 10 years in prison under the charge of “large-scale transportation of drugs.”

National Fallout of Brittney Griner’s Guilty Verdict and Sentencing

President Joe Biden immediately released a statement regarding Griner shortly after:

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence. It is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” the statement read. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates.  My administration will continue to work tirelessly. We will pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

It was reported last week that the U.S. is willing to send Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for her and Paul Whelan. Griner has been imprisoned since February 17, while Whelan has been behind bars in Russia since 2018.

But at this point in time, Russia has not agreed to the deal. According to Reuters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “So far there are no agreements in this area … Normally, the public learns about it when the agreements are already implemented.”

Griner wrote a letter to Biden over a month ago. She said: “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home.”