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Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charges

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Attendees lift up their signs during a rally for Brittney Griner's release at the Footprint Center on July 6, 2022, in Phoenix.Dsc04342
Credit: Antranik Tavitian/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Brittney Griner pleaded guilty in a Khimki, Russia, courtroom on Thursday to drugs charges that could bring a sentence of up to 10 years.

Hours after Griner’s wife, Cherelle, pledged not to rest until she is home, the WNBA All-Star told a judge she had no intent to break the law.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said, according to Reuters.

Griner asked the judge for “time to prepare” her testimony. She’s scheduled to appear again in one week, July 14, with her detention currently scheduled to last into December.

United States President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took part in a call with Cherelle Griner this week, their first conversation since Brittney Griner was taken into custody at an airport near Moscow on drug charges.

“The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other US nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world. He also read her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney Griner today,” the White House said.

Brittney Griner wrote a letter to Biden that was delivered to the White House for the Independence Day holiday. It was a plea to Biden to work on her case and also to assist other Americans held in Russia.

“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Griner wrote, according to excerpts of the letter released by her representatives on Monday.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Griner wrote. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.

“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore.”

The White House said Biden told Cherelle Griner that the administration is pursuing “every avenue to bring Brittney home.”

–Field Level Media