Brittney Griner is facing a 9-year sentence in a Russian jail following conviction. Here’s what could come next for the WNBA star

Now, Griner has returned to the detention heart the place she was held throughout her weekslong trial as her attorneys vow to attraction the sentence and the Biden administration continues to attempt to negotiate for her launch.

Russian officers “are ready to discuss” the prisoners being held by each international locations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists at a news conference Friday, based on Russian state information company RIA Novosti.

“There is a specified channel that has been agreed upon by the presidents, and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel will remain in effect,” Lavrov mentioned, based on RIA Novosti.

During the trial, Griner pleaded responsible to carrying less than 1 gram of hashish oil in her baggage as she traveled via a Moscow airport on February 17. She testified in courtroom she was conscious of Russia’s strict drug legal guidelines and had no intention of bringing hashish into the nation, saying she was in a rush and “stress packing.”

Her attorneys had hoped Griner’s responsible plea and statements of regret would lead to a extra lenient sentence. She confronted 10 years for the costs, and prosecutors requested she be sentenced to 9.5 years in jail. In addition to her nine-year sentence, Griner should pay a positive of 1 million rubles, which is roughly $16,400.

“I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here,” Griner mentioned in courtroom earlier than the decision. “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.”

The US State Department has categorized Griner as wrongfully detained. The Biden administration has supplied to commerce a convicted Russian arms seller in trade for Griner and one other American detainee, Paul Whelan, CNN has reported.
After the decision, Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, tweeted, “Today’s sentencing of Brittney Griner was severe by Russian legal standards and goes to prove what we have known all along, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn.”
President Joe Biden referred to as the sentence “unacceptable” and demanded she be returned to the US to be reunited together with her household, based on a press release.

Here’s what comes subsequent for Griner as she awaits her attorneys’ attraction and the US continues to barter for her launch.

Lawyers will attraction ‘unreasonable’ verdict

Griner’s authorized crew will file an attraction to the courtroom’s resolution, which it should do inside 10 days of the decision, based on her attorneys, Alexander Boykov and Maria Blagovolina, who’s a accomplice at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners regulation agency.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality. The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea,” they mentioned in a press release.

They referred to as the decision “absolutely unreasonable” and insisted the choice “contradicts the existing legal practice” in Russia.

Examination of the substance in Brittney Griner's vape cartridges violated Russian law, defense expert says

The common time in jail for this kind of crime is 5 years, including that just about a 3rd of these convicted get parole, Blagovolina advised reporters.

During the trial, the attorneys argued Griner’s detention was dealt with improperly. Griner testified she was made to signal paperwork she didn’t absolutely perceive and was not given ample translations of the Russian-language paperwork.

A protection knowledgeable additionally testified the examination of the vape cartridges containing the hashish oil didn’t adjust to Russian regulation.

US has proposed prisoner swap for Griner’s return

The Biden administration has proposed a prisoner swap, providing to trade a convicted Russian arms trafficker for Griner and Whelan, CNN has reported. Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine, was handed a 16-year jail sentence in 2018 on espionage fees after a trial the US deemed unfair.

After Griner’s sentence, National Security Council coordinator John Kirby mentioned it was “up to the Russian side” on whether or not the conviction will open the door for prisoner-swap negotiations.

Joe Biden calls Brittney Griner's sentence 'unacceptable'
After the US proposed a prisoner swap, Russia countered by requesting convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov even be launched, sources conversant in the discussions have advised CNN. The US has not thought-about the counter as a reliable proposal, partly as a result of the request was made via an off-the-cuff backchannel.

Kirby reiterated Thursday the US place stays it needs Russia to “take the deal on the table because it’s a good one, it’s a fair one, and it’ll help bring Paul (Whelan) and Brittney home.”

While US officers have lengthy opposed prisoner trades, the profitable release in April of Trevor Reed, an American and former Marine who was imprisoned in Russia, garnered bipartisan reward from lawmakers and was thought-about a political win for the Biden administration.

Family and supporters proceed to struggle for her return

The swap proposal follows months of strain from Griner’s household and members of the basketball neighborhood.

The star’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, has been outspoken about her want for US officers to take extra substantial motion to convey her spouse house. Days after Cherelle Griner expressed frustrations in an interview with CNN, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris held a name together with her to reassure her they have been dedicated to securing her spouse’s launch, based on a White House call readout.

Griner has additionally had the regular help of her WNBA crew, the Phoenix Mercury, in addition to different members of the basketball neighborhood.

Before the beginning of a sport Thursday night time between the Mercury and Connecticut Sun, members of each groups linked arms within the heart of the courtroom and held a 42-second second of silence for Griner, who wears 42 on her jersey. After it ended, individuals within the crowd began chanting, “Bring her home! Bring her home!”

CNN’s Allie Malloy, Chris Liakos, Natasha Bertrand, Frederik Pleitgen, Eric Levenson, Dakin Andone, Travis Caldwell, Jill Martin, Betsy Klein, Kate Sullivan and MJ Lee contributed to this report.

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