A Russian court denied Brittney Griner’s appeal on Tuesday and upheld her prison sentence of nine years on drug charges. The WNBA star was found guilty in early August after pleading guilty the month prior.
In a statement read in court, Griner explained that she “did not intend to do this” and was hopeful that pleading guilty would help her chances with the appeal.
BRITTNEY GRINER’S WIFE SAYS GRINER IS A ‘HOSTAGE’ IN RUSSIA, AWKWARDLY COMPARES SITUATION TO A MOVIE
With the denial of the appeal, a potential high-profile prisoner swap may be the only way Griner is released from Russian prison early.
Griner was arrested in February at an airport in Moscow when customs officials said she was carrying vape cartridges containing hash oil. When Griner pleaded guilty to the drug charges, she explained she had “packed in a hurry.”
With President Joe Biden and the White House continuing to drag their feet in this situation, Griner has become extremely pessimistic about an early release.
“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Griner’s lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov told The New York Times earlier this month. “She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”