A Russian judge sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison on Thursday. Griner pleaded guilty last month to smuggling cannabis oil in vape pens into Russia.
Griner’s attorneys asked for leniency, but the judge agreed with the prosecution’s recommendation for a sentence of 9.5 years.
Judge Anna Sotnikova reduced the sentence by 6 months for time served, since Griner has been in custody since her arrest in February.
Griner stared blankly at the judge when her sentence was translated into English.
Griner, 31, previously said she was rushing to pack and didn’t realize the vape pens were in her luggage.
The Biden administration has not responded to Griner’s quick sentencing. Her trial, which began in June, was expected to last 6 months.
The Biden administration had offered to swap Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan who was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying for the US.
But former President Donald Trump objected to the prisoner swap. Trump called Griner “spoiled”, and he said she should remain in Russia if a prisoner exchange meant endangering American lives.
Griner will be transferred from the detention center to a woman’s prison to begin serving her sentence.