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Russian judge sentences US basketball star Griner to 9 years in prison

WNBA star and two-time US Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner stands in a cage in a courtroom prior to a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, August 4, 2022. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)
WNBA star and two-time US Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner stands in a cage in a courtroom prior to a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, August 4, 2022. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

A judge in Russia has convicted and sentenced American basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling.

Judge Anna Sotnikova says the time Griner has served in custody since her arrest in February will count toward the sentence.

Griner reacts to the sentence with little emotion. She listens to the verdict with a blank stare on her face.

While recapping the evidence and giving her findings, the judge says the 31-year-old Griner illegally brought drugs into Russia.

Before the unusually quick verdict was announced, Griner made a final appeal to the court. She said she had no intention to break the law by bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil into the country when she flew to Moscow in February to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.

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