Brittney Griner gave a glimpse of her personal story while testifying in a Russian court on Thursday in a case where she faces possible sentences of up to 10 years in prison. . Her legal team appealed for leniency in the case, arguing that she had contributed to Russian society and that she had no intention of breaking the law.
“I grew up in an ordinary house, an ordinary household in Houston, Texas, with my siblings and my mother and my father,” Ms. Griner, 31, told the court. “My parents taught me two important things: One, take charge of your responsibilities, and two, work hard for everything you get. That’s why I pleaded guilty to my crime.”
“I understand everything that has been said against me in the charges against me, but I do not intend to violate Russian law,” said Ms. Griner, who was detained in mid-February at an airport in Moscow. Moscow while en route to Yekaterinburg, added. a Russian city near the Ural Mountains, where she played for a local team during the WNBA season.
Customs officials found two vape boxes containing less than a gram of hash oil in her luggage.
“I want the court to understand that it was an honest mistake I made in the rush and stress of trying to recover from Covid and just trying to get back on my team,” she told the court on Tuesday. Thursday.
Ms. Griner also talked about her time playing for UMMC Yekaterinburg.
“The hard work my parents instilled in me is what brought me to play for the best Russian team,” she said. “I did not know that my team, city, fans and teammates would make such a great impression on me in the six and a half years I spent in Yekaterinburg. It has become my second home to friends, teammates and fans with whom I will always interact.”
The basketball star apologized to her teammates on Russia and Yekaterinburg, her family and fellow WNBA players, including her Arizona team, the Phoenix Mercury.
Speaking before the judge in the case, Anna S. Sotnikova, Ms. Griner said, “I have honestly made a mistake, and I hope that your judgment that it does not end my life here.”
She also alluded to the possibility that a prisoner swap would allow her to return to the United States, an issue that has become the subject of negotiations between Moscow and Washington, with pressure on President Biden to help secure set her free.
“I know that people are always talking about politics and politics, but I hope that is far from that courtroom,” Ms. Griner said.