2:16 PM PT — Reps for Griner tell TMZ Sports they’re hopeful following the WNBA star’s guilty plea Thursday that she will now receive “no severe sentence.”
“[The guilty plea] was her decision informed by discussion with her legal defense team in Russia,” Griner’s legal team said. “Brittney sets an example of being brave. She decided to take full responsibility for her actions as she knows that she is a role model for many people.”
“Considering the nature of her case, the insignificant amount of the substance and BG’s personality and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes that the plea will be considered by the court as a mitigating factor and there will be no severe sentence.”
Griner’s reps added they expect Griner’s trial to wrap up in August.
7:08 AM PT — Brittney Griner has just pled guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges in a Russian court. She told the judge, “I’d like to plead guilty, your honor, but there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”
Griner spoke in English and it was translated to the court. She went on to say, “I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.” It’s unclear what testimony to which she’s referring, since she was pleading guilty. The testimony may involve sentencing.
The next hearing is set for July 14. Griner faces up to 10 years in prison. It’s interesting the plea comes on the heels of President Biden saying he was stepping up efforts to win her release.
Brittney Griner is back in court in Russia as her trial continues onward … but this time, she made sure to bring a very personal item with her — a photo of her wife.
Cameras captured the WNBA superstar walking into a Moscow courtroom for another hearing in her drug case on Thursday morning … and you can see in her hand, very clearly, was a photo of Cherelle Griner.
The picture appears to be a screen grab from one of Cherelle’s recent television interviews … and next to it, there was also a photo of Brittney holding a basketball.
Brittney seemed to want to make sure cameras snapped her holding the pics … as she held out the paper and stared at photogs camped inside the halls of the courthouse on her way inside.
The 33-year-old hooper wore a red Crenshaw T-shirt, red sweats … and had a stern look on her face.
The loud-and-clear message from Brittney comes just one day after both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle about Brittney’s case.
White House officials said Biden and Harris assured Cherelle on the call they’re pursuing “every avenue to bring Brittney home” and promised that they’re “working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible.”
Cherelle said in a statement shortly after the call she was “grateful” for the U.S. officials’ contact … but added at a rally for Brittney at the Footprint Center in Phoenix hours later that she “honestly can’t rest until” Brittney is back on U.S. soil.
As we reported, Brittney is facing up to 10 years behind bars in Russia after she was accused of having drugs in her luggage at a Moscow airport back in mid-February.