A Russian court has found Brittney Griner guilty of drug smuggling with criminal intent.
The judge at Khimki court in the Moscow region is still reading out the verdict. The judge is now going through the facts of the case, the witnesses called and their testimonies.
Some background: The 31-year-old Olympic gold medalist was arrested at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian prosecutors of trying to smuggle less than one gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.
“I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here,” Griner said in the Khimki city courthouse on Thursday. “I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom."
"I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws," she said.
She pleaded guilty to drug charges last month in what her lawyers say was an attempt to take responsibility and receive leniency.
In closing arguments Thursday, a prosecutor asked for 9.5 years of jail time for Griner, according to defense lawyer Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners law firm.
Blagovolina argued that Griner never used marijuana in Russia and that she never had the intention of doing so. She had no need to bring the vape cartridges to Russia, the lawyer added.