Out WNBA player Brittney Griner pled guilty to a drugs charge earlier today in a court in Russia but stressed to the court that she didn’t intend to break the law.
Russian state news reports that Griner’s translator told the judge that she admitted to having cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage when she was stopped at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport this past February. Cannabis is illegal in Russia.
“I was in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag,” she said in the court in Khimki as her trial began.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” she said in English. She then asked for time to prepare her testimony and the court adjourned for the week.
Her next court date is scheduled for July 14. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison in Russia.
Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested on February 17 – shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and is accused of “large-scale transportation of drugs” due to the vape cartridges found in her luggage.
Earlier this week, Griner pled with President Joe Biden to get her out of Russia.
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,” she said in the handwritten letter, which was delivered to the White House on Monday. “Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore.”
“I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home,” Griner wrote.