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WNBA Star Brittney Griner Reportedly Pleads Guilty in Russian Court

  • The WNBA star has reportedly pleaded guilty to possessing and bringing marijuana into Russia.
  • The plea is likely part of a diplomatic strategy, per ESPN.
Antranik Tavitian/The Republic

In the second week of her trial, WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to the charges against her in a Russian court, Reuters reported

In February, Griner was detained in Russia for allegedly carrying marijuana products in her luggage while traveling in the country. Marijuana possession is illegal in Russia, and Griner is facing up to a decade in prison.

Last week, at her trial’s commencement, the court reportedly decided that Griner must remain in detention for another six months. 

Griner’s detention comes at a time when the U.S. and Russia have essentially cut diplomatic ties. She was taken into custody just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, making it a pariah on the world stage.

Despite the strain, the Biden administration says it is working to bring Griner back to the U.S.

The plea itself is likely part of a “strategy” to bring Griner back to the U.S., according to ESPN. The Russian court system was expected to find her guilty. Her release will be contingent upon diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and Russia.

On Wednesday, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Griner’s wife by phone.

In a statement, the president said Griner was “wrongfully detained in Russia under intolerable circumstances.”

President Biden “is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible,” the statement read.

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