Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty, Biden Lashes Out Over Her Detention, Russia Calls It 'Hype,' What's Next?

Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty, Biden Lashes Out Over Her Detention, Russia Calls It 'Hype,' What's Next?

Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges as her trial continued in a Russian court on Thursday. She admitted to bringing cannabis oil into the country saying she had packed in a hurry and did not intend 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, speaking to the court, per Reuters.

"I'd like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare," she added.

The Phoenix Mercury Center and Olympic gold medalist could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Biden Lashes Out

With the continuation of Griner's trial, marking her second court appearance since July 1, the Biden administration said that the regime of Vladimir Putin ordered Griner's arrest in order to use her as leverage.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov criticized what he called Biden's "hype" over Griner's case and warned that it is not helping her interests, reported Reuters.

The hype Ryabkov is most likely referring to is Biden's response to Griner's wife Cherelle with whom he spoke following her direct plea to Biden on "CBS Mornings" with Gayle King and a hand-written letter to Biden from Griner herself. Griner's letter was delivered to the White House on the 4th of July in which she pleaded with the President to help free her and other Americans in Russia. Biden said he is responding, which seems to have annoyed her Russian captors.

The WNBA superstar, who has played during the off-season in Russia for the past seven years was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 for allegedly having cannabis oil in her suitcase.

Prisoner Exchange?

There has been chatter about a possible prisoner swap involving Griner and a Russian national in a US prison. Citing confirmation from an official source, Russian state news agency Tass has reported discussions around the notorious convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death."

The United States and Russia swapped prisoners in late April when Moscow released former U.S. marine Trevor Reed in return for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who had been in prison on drug trafficking charges.

Meanwhile, Biden "offered his support" to Griner's family and "committed to ensuring they are provided with all possible assistance while his administration pursues every avenue to bring Brittney home."

Photo: Biden, Griner (David Lienemann by Commons)

Posted In: Brittney GrinerCBS MorningsCherelle GrinerGayle KingJoe BidenKamala HarrisMoscowRussiaSergei RyabkovTrevor ReedViktor BoutVladimir PutinWNBACannabisGovernmentNewsEurozonePoliticsSportsMarketsGeneral

BENZINGA CANNABIS CONFERENCE

Meet the biggest cannabis industry players and make deals that will push the industry forward.

Featuring live company presentations, insider panels, and unmatched access to networking, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is where cannabis executives and entrepreneurs meet.

Join us September 13-14, 2022 at The Palmer House in Chicago, IL.