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WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner, stands listening to a verdict in a courtroom in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner apologized to her family and teams as a Russian court heard closing arguments in her drug possession trial said it expected to deliver a verdict later Thursday. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

WNBA’s Brittney Griner appeals her Russian prison sentence

FILE - US Basketball player Brittney Griner looks through bars as she listens to the verdict standing in a cage in a courtroom in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drugs possession. Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted on Aug. 4. She was arrested in February at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP, File)
US Basketball player Brittney Griner looks through bars as she listens to the verdict standing in a cage in a courtroom in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drugs possession. Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted on Aug. 4. She was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner have filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drug possession, Russian news agencies reported Monday, amid talks between the U.S. and Russia that could lead to a high-profile prisoner swap.

Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Griner admitted that she had the canisters in her luggage, but said she had inadvertently packed them in haste and that she had no criminal intent. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

Her February arrest came at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, just days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine. At the time, Griner, recognized as one of the greatest players in WNBA history, was returning to Russia, where she plays during the U.S. league’s offseason.

 

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