Brittney Griner appeals 9-year sentence in Russia drug case: report

Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina told RIA Novosti the appeal was filed. Griner was also fined 1 million rubles – the equivalent to about $ 16,400.

The 31-year-old was arrested in February in Russia. She was returning to her Russian basketball team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, after there was a pause in the season for international play. She has been held in the country ever since. The U.S. State Department declared her “wrongfully detained.”

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WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner drinks water as she listens to the verdict in a cage in a courtroom in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner drinks water as she listens to the verdict in a cage in a courtroom in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

Griner apologized in court earlier this month.

“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,” she said. “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”

Griner contended she made “an honest mistake” when she brought vape cartridges through the airport, adding “I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.”

RUSSIA CONFIRMS PRISONER EXCHANGE TALKS WITH US FOLLOWING BRITTNEY GRINER SENTENCING

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom ater a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. 

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom ater a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian media has speculated the trade could be for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death,” who is serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. after being convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sunday on Rossiya-1 TV that Moscow was ready for “a professional conversation and concrete steps” toward Griner and American Paul Whelan.

“People who are to deal with these matters are ready,” Zakharova said, via USA Today. “And this work is not done in the public eye.”

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner, stands listening to a verdict in a courtroom in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. 

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner, stands listening to a verdict in a courtroom in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.  (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

It’s unclear how far talks about the prisoner swap have progressed.

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