Russian Prosecutors Make Final Push for Brittney Griner’s Conviction, Sentencing

by Tyler Mansfield

After a six-month trial, imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner is set to hear a Russian court’s ruling on her drug possession charges on Thursday. While a verdict is expected to be revealed later today, the Moscow court met this morning and asked for prosecutors to convict Griner and sentence her to 9 1/2 years in prison.

Griner, a 31-year-old WNBA All-Star for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested on February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport for carrying vaporizer cartridges containing hashish oil. Since then, she has been behind bars in Russia awaiting the outcome of her trial. Under Russian law, Griner could face up to 10 years – and prosecutors are pushing for at least 9 1/2.

If Griner is convicted and sentenced, there’s still a possibility of a prisoner swap taking place between Russia and the U.S.

Brittney Griner is ‘Prepared for the Worst,’ Asks Court for Mercy

Ahead of Thursday’s closing arguments, Brittney Griner made it clear that she was “prepared for the worst” regarding her upcoming verdict. With a possible 10-year prison sentence looming, the WNBA standout isn’t sure what’s going to happen next – and rightfully so.

As she took to the courtroom on Thursday morning, Griner was able to make her final plea to authorities. While speaking to Russian officials, Griner explained that she had no intention to bring the vape cartridges into Russia and break the law. She again said that it was simply an accident.

“I never meant to hurt anybody,” Griner said. “I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population. I never meant to break any laws here. I made an honest mistake and I hope that your ruling doesn’t end my life here.

“I want to say again that I had no intention of breaking Russian laws. I had no intent. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”