The abrupt responsible plea by the Phoenix Mercury star and two-time Olympic gold medallist got here amid a rising refrain of requires Washington to do extra to safe her freedom almost 5 months after her arrest, amid rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine.
A senior Russian diplomat stated earlier that no motion may very well be taken by Moscow on Griner’s case till the trial was over, and her responsible plea may very well be an effort by her and her advisers to expedite the court docket proceedings.
American basketball star Brittney Griner has pleaded responsible to drug possession expenses on the second day of her trial in a Russian court docket in a case that might see her sentenced to as much as 10 years in jail.
Griner, 31, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport whereas returning to play basketball in Russia, and police stated they discovered vape canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage.
Talking via an interpreter, Griner advised the court docket that she had no intention of committing against the law and had acted unintentionally as a result of she had packed for Moscow in a rush. The trial was then adjourned till July 14.
Griner emphasised “that she had dedicated this act via negligence, unintentionally”, her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, advised reporters outdoors the court docket close to Moscow after the responsible plea.
“We in fact hope for the leniency of the court docket,” Ms Blagovolina stated.
“Contemplating all of the circumstances of the case, taking into consideration the character of our consumer, we consider that the request for forgiveness ought to definitely be taken under consideration.”
She added that different defence witnesses could be questioned at a later session.
Griner’s different lawyer, Alexander Boikov, stated she admitted that the canister “was hers, however she stated that it was unintentionally delivered to Russia, as a result of she was in a rush as she was packing and it was simply by chance it ended up in her baggage”.
The athlete was escorted to the courtroom in handcuffs and was carrying a vibrant purple T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms. She additionally held a photograph of her spouse, Cherelle.
Elizabeth Rood, deputy chief of mission on the US Embassy in Moscow, advised reporters after the listening to that she had spoken to Griner within the courtroom and shared along with her a letter from US president Joe Biden that she had learn.
“She’s consuming nicely, she’s capable of learn books and below the circumstances she’s doing nicely,” Ms Rood stated of Griner.
“I would really like once more to emphasize the dedication of the US authorities on the very highest stage to convey residence safely Ms Griner and all US residents wrongfully detained, in addition to the dedication of the US Embassy in Moscow to take care of and defend the pursuits of all US residents detained or imprisoned in Russia,” she added.
Russian deputy international minister Sergei Ryabkov bristled on the US description of Griner as “wrongfully detained” and warned that “makes an attempt by the American aspect to make noise in public … don’t assist the sensible settlement of points”.