Two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist Brittney Griner has pleaded
guilty to drug charges in a Russian court near Moscow
Thursday. Griner, whom the US State Department has classified as wrongfully
detained, faces up to 10 years in prison under the charge
According to a source close to Griner, the decision to plead guilty was made by her
alone. But in recent weeks, Griner, her family, lawyers, and experts discussed this
decision extensively saying a plea could ultimately result in a shorter sentence.
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone Wednesday
with Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle. Griner wrote in a letter delivered to Biden on
Monday that she is afraid that she could be detained in Russia indefinitely.
Asked by reporters outside the court if Griner can contact her wife, Griner’s lawyer
Maria Blagovolina said, “This can be done in the form of a call. Unfortunately, due to
the fact that Brittney now goes to the court, it is logistically difficult to arrange.”
Because Griner is either traveling to the court from her detention center north of
Moscow or she is kept at the detention center in Khimki by the court, Blagovolina
added that “we have not yet been able to organize it technically.”