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

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.

Jailed American basketball star 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)

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner hold photos as she is escorted to a courtroom.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner hold photos as she is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, July 7, 2022.

(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia.

Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia.

(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)

American basketball player Brittney Griner enters the court in Khimki, Russia, for her trial, Thursday, July 7, 2022.

American basketball player Brittney Griner enters the court in Khimki, Russia, for her trial, Thursday, July 7, 2022.

(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at 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, the wife of Brittney Griner, speaks during a rally to support the release of detained American professional athlete Britney Griner at Footprint Center on July 06, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

A supporter holds up signs during a rally to support the release of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner at Footprint Center

A supporter holds up signs during a rally to support the release of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner at Footprint Center on July 06, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Supporters pose with a mural depicting Britney Griner following a rally

Supporters pose with a mural depicting Britney Griner following a rally to support Brittney Griner at Footprint Center on July 06, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Players, coach and general manager from the Phoenix Mercury attend a rally to support the release of Brittney Griner

Players, coach and general manager from the Phoenix Mercury attend a rally to support the release of Brittney Griner at Footprint Center on July 06, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Supporters hold up signs reading "Bring Brittney Home" during a rally to support the release of Britney Griner.

Supporters hold up signs reading “Bring Brittney Home” during a rally to support the release of Britney Griner at Footprint Center on July 06, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)




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