WNBA star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian drug trial

KHIMKI, Russia — U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted Thursday in Russia of drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years behind bars in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

The 31-year-old Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and a eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, listened with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the verdict by Judge Anna Sotnikova, but her lawyers said later she was “very upset.” Griner also was fined 1 million rubles, about $16,700.

U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the sentence as “unacceptable.” Griner’s conviction come amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

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