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Britney GreinerThe American basketball star and Olympic gold medalist learned on Thursday of her fate in a Russian court after pleading guilty to a drug offense last month.
a Russian judge convicted Greiner On charges of drug possession and smuggling, she was sentenced to nine years in prison. She was also fined 1 million rubles, equivalent to about $16,200.
Greiner, 31, appeared in a courtroom in Khimki, just outside Moscow. It issued an apology before sentencing and sentencing, while prosecutors pushed for a 9.5-year prison sentence.
“I want to apologize to my colleagues, my team, the fans and the city (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake and the embarrassment I caused them,” she said. “I also want to apologize to my parents, brothers, the Phoenix Mercury at home, the wonderful women in the WNBA, and my wonderful wife at home.”
Greiner claimed she had made an “outright mistake” when she brought vape packs containing oils derived from cannabis to Moscow’s airport in February, adding, “I hope in your judgment it doesn’t end my life.”
Greiner was returning to her Russian basketball team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, after a hiatus in the season for international play. She described Yekaterinburg as her “second home”.
“I had no idea that the team, the cities, the fans, and my teammates would make such a great impression on me over my 6 1/2 years here. I remember a clear exit from the gym and all the little girls were in the stands waiting for me, and that made me come back to here “.
Russian prosecutors have argued that Greiner intentionally packaged cannabis oil. Griner’s lawyers argued that Griner was using marijuana to treat pain, but Russian officials said US laws regarding the drug’s legality had no effect on the Russian judicial system.
The US State Department has designated Greiner as “unfairly detained”. Last week, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken revealed that The Biden administration made a ‘substantial proposal’ For the return of basketball player and American citizen Paul Whelan.
Blinken said during a press conference that the Biden administration made the proposal weeks ago and hopes to talk to him Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov For the first time since February 15th.
Russian media have speculated that the trade may be for Victor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the “Dealer of Death,” who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States after being convicted of plotting to kill American citizens and providing assistance to a terrorist organization.
White House press secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday that Russia had responded “in bad faith” to the US government’s offer. She did not go into details.
Russian officials made it clear that a prisoner exchange could not take place until a conviction and sentence had been issued.
President Biden’s response to Russian rule.
“Today, US citizen Britney Greiner received a prison sentence and this is another reminder of what the world already knows: Russia is unjustly holding Britney. It is unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with his wife, who she loves. Your family, friends and colleagues at The team. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and strive in every possible avenue to get Britney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
Fox News’ Paulina Didage contributed to this report.