By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
The drug possession trial ending nearly six months after the arrest of Brittney Griner awaits the verdict, expected to be delivered later Thursday.
Griner, 31, apologized in her final remarks in court. “I made an honest mistake, and I hope in your ruling it does not end my life,” she said explaining she did not intend to break the Russian law, per AP.
The court in Russia after hearing closing arguments will likely confirm a conviction in the following hours. The WNBA and EuroLeague center admitted to having vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage on the trip to Moscow, as accused.
The prosecutors are seeking sentencing of 9 1/2 years in prison, as noted in the latest update on her status in Russia. Under Russian law, she faces up to ten years in prison, if convicted.
Griner was arrested arriving in the Russian capital from New York. She was set to extend her successful run at UMMC Ekaterinburg. Spending the WNBA offseason in Russia produced four EuroLeague championships since 2014. In 2014, she captured the WNBA championship as a key player for the Phoenix Mercury. Gold medals in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, and as the Final Four MVP leading Baylor to the NCAA title in 2012 also jump out in the long list of achievements highlighting her career.
At the bottom end of the trial, the U.S. proposed a deal to secure the release of Griner. The plan included the release of Russian arms trafficker Victor Bout, jailed in the USA.
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