Brittney Griner has just learned her fate. The WNBA star will serve nine years in a Russian prison on charges of smuggling drugs into the country.
The verdict was read by a Russian judge on Thursday after Griner’s lawyers presented closing arguments. Griner asked the court for leniency because she said the small amount of cannabis, less than 1 gram, was brought into the country by accident.
The athlete’s lawyers called the sentence “absolutely unreasonable” and say they plan to appeal, per The New York Times.
“That’s why I pled guilty to my charges,” she told the court in her emotional plea. “I understand everything that’s been said against me, the charges that are against me and that is why I pled guilty but I had no intents to break any Russian laws.”
During closing arguments, Russian prosecutors asked the judge for a sentence of nine years and six months. The request is only just below the maximum sentence of 10 years.
They also requested a fine of 1 million rubles, which is about $16,600.
President Joe Biden called the ruling “unacceptable” and says his administration will continue working “tirelessly” to bring Griner home.