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.
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.