Brittney Griner has said she is “devastated,” “very upset,” and “quite shocked,” her lawyers revealed after a Russian court sentenced the “woke” WNBA star to nine years in a brutal Russian penal colony.
Griner’s lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said Griner’s nine-year sentence was nearly double what they thought she would get.
They said they based their prediction on past sentences, despite Griner being a valuable asset to Russia amid the current global climate.
They revealed that Griner did not take the news well after learning she will spend nine years in a Russian gulag.
“She’s devastated,” Blagovolina said.
“She is very upset and she’s honestly quite shocked, so she needs to digest what happened today.
“So nine years, it’s pretty unusual and it contradicts the existing court practice in Russia.
“That’s why we are really disappointed and very much surprised by this decision of the court.”
Blagovolina said Griner will appeal but that the process will “take a month or two or more than three. It’s not very fast.
“As a legal team, we need to do the maximum to get a shorter term.
“We need to use every legal opportunity that we have, and an appeal is one of those opportunities.”
Griner asked the court for leniency before sentencing.
“I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here,” she told the court.
“I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here.
“I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.
“I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws.
“I had no intent,” she said.
“I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”
From Fox News:
Former Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard slammed Vice President Kamala Harris’ record on marijuana prosecution after Harris condemned Russia’s imprisonment of WNBA star Brittney Griner on a cannabis charge.
“Another note of hypocrisy coming from Kamala Harris and this administration is you mentioned during her illustrious record as attorney general in California…she kept prisoners in prison longer than their sentences to use them as free slave labor yet at the same time these very same people are condemning other countries for doing the exact same thing,” Gabbard told Fox News host Will Cain.
Griner was sentenced by a Russian court to 9 years in prison this week after being caught with a cannabis vape pen at an airport near Moscow earlier this year.
The sentence earned widespread condemnation from U.S. officials including Harris who said she is working to secure Griner’s release.
President Biden slams Griner’s 9-year prison sentence as “one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.”
“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately” pic.twitter.com/LkLnMQXor3
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) August 4, 2022
According to People:
The hope, though, is that the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. State Department and Russia to release Griner as part of a prisoner exchange with Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in the country, will be successful and get her home sooner.
White House Is ‘Still Waiting on’ Russia to Respond to Proposed Brittney Griner Exchange
When Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the potential exchange last Wednesday, Griner “was quite happy to know that she had not been forgotten and that there are some possible developments,” Blagovolina says.
“But she’s quite realistic about what’s going on,” she adds.