Brittney Griner pleaded guilty Thursday in a Russian court on drug charges that have led the U.S. government to classify her as “wrongfully detained.”
Reuters reported from the courtroom that Griner entered a guilty plea. She could face a sentence of up to 10 years, while pressure from her supporters at home calling for her release grows.
Griner, speaking Thursday on the second day of her trial in a suburb of Moscow, has been in Russian custody since Feb. 17.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said in English, per Reuters, which was then translated into Russian for the court.
Griner is due back in court next Thursday, Reuters reported. Her guilty plea is unlikely to change much, as her pre-trial detention had been extended last Monday for an additional six months. The trial could last that long, and there’s a near certainty a predetermined outcome has already been decided at a higher level.
On Feb. 17, Russian authorities arrested Griner at an airport outside of Moscow for allegedly carrying hashish oil in vape cartridges. Her detainment was not revealed until weeks later – after Russia had invaded Ukraine and international tensions with the United States and the rest of the world escalated.
The U.S. classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” in May. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris phoned Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, who pushed for increased urgency to free Griner during national media appearances.