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Russian court WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty drug possession smuggling

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Image of US basketball star Brittney Griner.
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WNBA star Brittney Griner has been found guilty of drug possession and smuggling by a court in Russia.

A court in Russia has today, Thursday, August 4, found WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling. The 31-year-old will now await sentencing, but Nikolai Vlasenko, the prosecutor, has requested a 9 1/2 year prison term. He asked for the court to fine her one million rubles (approx €16,000).

The US basketball star was detained at Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage. She was making her way home after playing for a club in 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” an emotional Griner told the court. She added: “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organisation back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home”.

Her defence lawyer Maria Blagovolina had tried to convince the court that her client only used the vape cartridges while playing for Phoenix Mercury in Arizona, and had forgotten they were in her luggage. Griner had been prescribed the cannabis oil to treat a condition that gave her chronic pain.

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