Griner receives 9-year sentence

Brittney Griner, a basketball star convicted Thursday of marijuana possession in Russia, was sentenced to nine years in prison. The politically charged case could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Russia.

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August 4, 2022 - 2:18 PM

U.S. Women's National Basketball Association basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Photo by (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted Thursday in Russia of drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years in prison in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

The 31-year-old Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and a eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, listened with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the verdict by Judge Anna Sotnikova. Griner also was fined 1 million rubles (about $16,700).

U.S. President Joe Biden denounced as “unacceptable” the verdict and sentence, which came amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

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