KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — A Russian court has sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 1/2 years in prison. Griner is convicted of drug possession and smuggling after bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil on a flight to Moscow to play basketball in Yekaterinburg. Additionally, Judge Anna Sotnikova ruled the time Griner has served in custody since her February arrest will not reduce the sentence.
Before the verdict, an emotional Griner told the court she had no intention to break the law. Griner showed little emotion when the verdict was announced. The swift judgment came amid soaring tensions between Moscow and the U.S over Ukraine.
The U.S. government offered to trade convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia for espionage. Griner’s sentencing could potentially lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange should Russian officials accept the offer.