As Reuters reported, the 31-year-old basketball star entered her guilty plea to the charge of illegal crossing of a customs border with illegal narcotics. Griner was arrested in February after she allegedly carried vaporizer cartridges containing hash oil at an airport in Moscow. Russian officials have said once a verdict is reached, Griner can seek clemency or appeal the decision.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” said Griner in court on Thursday, noting that it was a mistake because she packed for her Russia trip in a hurry. “I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.” Her guilty plea comes just a week after the trial began.
“Being sufficiently aware that the movement of narcotic drugs is not allowed...no later than February 17, 2022 at an unspecified location under unspecified circumstances from an unidentified person [Griner] bought two cartridges for personal use, which contained 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil, totaling 0.702 grams,” said the prosecutor in court last week.
Brittney Griner’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 14.
On Wednesday, wife Cherelle Griner said she was “grateful” for the support Brittney has received from Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris. “While I will remain concerned and outspoken until she is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the President read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond,” Cherelle said in a statement. “I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten.”
In an open letter shared from Russian prison earlier this week, Griner expressed concern she could be held there “forever.”