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Basketball star Brittney Griner found guilty of drug possession, smuggling in Russia | CBC Sports

Basketball star Brittney Griner found guilty of drug possession, smuggling in Russia | CBC Sports

Basketball star Brittney Griner found guilty of drug possession, smuggling in Russia | CBC Sports
Aug 04, 2022 2 mins, 3 secs

"I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates," Biden said, adding that he would continue to work to bring home Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction.

She said she had no intention to break the law by bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil when she flew to Moscow in February to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.

"I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of [Yekaterinburg] for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them," Griner said, her voice cracking.

Griner said she made "an honest mistake" in bringing the vape cartridges into Russia, adding: "I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.".

Griner said Yekaterinburg, a city east of the Ural Mountains, had become her "second home.".

Prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko insisted that Griner packed the cannabis oil deliberately.

They presented character witnesses from the Yekaterinburg team that she plays for in the WNBA off-season and written testimony from a doctor who said he prescribed her cannabis for pain treatment from injuries sustained in her basketball career.

Her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, argued that Griner used the cannabis only in Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal.

She emphasized that Griner was packing in haste after a grueling flight and suffering from the consequences of COVID-19.

Another defence attorney, Alexander Boykov, emphasized Griner's role in taking her Yekaterinburg team to win multiple championships, noting that she was loved and admired by her teammates.

Then last week, in an extraordinary move, Blinken spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, urging him to accept a deal under which Griner and Paul Whelan, another imprisoned American, would go free.

People familiar with the proposal say it envisions trading Griner and Whelan for the notorious arms trader Viktor Bout, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States.

Embassy's charge d'affaires, has attended the trial in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, where the airport is located, and said that American officials are monitoring her case closely, along with those of all U.S.

At the ESPY Awards last month, soccer player Megan Rapinoe referred to Griner as "a political prisoner," and tennis great Billie Jean King said, "First, bring BG home.


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