Photos: Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug possession and smuggling, Russian media say

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 7, 2022.
WNBA star Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, on Thursday. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February.
(Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP via Getty Images)
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MOSCOW — Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty Thursday to drug possession and smuggling during her trial near Moscow but said she had had no intention of committing a crime, Russian news agencies reported.

The reports quoted Griner as saying through an interpreter at the court hearing that she had acted unintentionally because she was packing in haste.

Griner’s trial began last week amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her freedom nearly five months after her arrest.

Before Thursday’s hearing, Russian police escorted Griner, handcuffed and clad in a bright red T-shirt and sports trousers, into the courtroom past a crowd of journalists.

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The athlete was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters with cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of large-scale transportation of drugs.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing.
Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Thursday amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her release nearly five months after being arrested on drug charges.
(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)
Brittney Griner holds a water bottle and photos as she is escorted to a courtroom
Brittney Griner holds a water bottle and photos as she is escorted to a courtroom in Khimki, just outside Moscow, on Thursday.
(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)
Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom in Khimki, outside Moscow.
(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)
Griner has been held in Russia for almost five months.
Griner has been held in Russia for almost five months.
(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)
Brittney Griner enters the court
Brittney Griner enters the court in Khimki, Russia, for her trial on Thursday.
(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)
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Griner is escorted to a courtroom
Brittney Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February.
(Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP )
Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, speaks during a rally to support the release of Britney Griner.
Cherelle Griner, wife of Brittney Griner, speaks during a rally Wednesday in Phoenix to support Griner’s release.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
A supporter holds up signs during a rally in Phoenix to support Brittney Griner's release.
A supporter holds up signs during a rally Wednesday in Footprint Center in Phoenix to support Brittney Griner’s release.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Supporters pose with a mural depicting Brittney Griner following a rally
Supporters pose with a mural depicting Brittney Griner after a rally at Footprint Center in Phoenix to support the athlete’s release.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Players, coach and general manager from the Phoenix Mercury attend a rally to support the release of Brittney Griner
Phoenix Mercury players, coach and general manager attend Wednesday’s rally calling for the release of Brittney Griner.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Supporters hold up signs reading "Bring Brittney Home" during a rally to support the release of Britney Griner.
Supporters send a clear message at Wednesday’s rally in Phoenix.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)