US basketball star Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charge in Russian court, says it was not intentional

American basketball player Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty in a Russian court to a drug charge, but denies that she intentionally broke the law.

Griner was at the second hearing of her narcotics charges trial, which could face up to 10 years in prison, days after she urged US President Joe Biden to secure her release.

“I’d like to plead guilty, Your Honor,” Griner said.

“I would like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare,” she added.

The next court hearing was scheduled for July 14.

Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boykov, told reporters they hoped for the most lenient sentence possible.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February with vape cartridges containing hash oil, a substance illegal in Russia, and has been held in custody ever since.

Woman in red t-shirt led by court authorities.
Griner could be sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Russian court if found guilty.Reuters: Evgenia Novozhenina

US working to release Griner ‘as soon as possible’

In a handwritten note earlier this week, Griner directly appealed to Mr. Biden to step up US efforts to bring her home.

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