According to Russian news agencies, the defense team of WNBA star Brittney Griner has filed an appeal of her nine-year sentence for drug possession.
Griner was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport,and has spent months detained in Russia until her trial began. She was convicted and sentenced to nine-yers in prison earlier this month.
The Biden administration continues to work for the release of Griner and another American currently in Russian custody. The U.S. State Department declared her “wrongfully detained.”
Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina told RIA Novosti the appeal was filed. Griner was also fined 1 million rubles – the equivalent to about $16,400.
Griner apologized in court earlier this month.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them,” she said. “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”
Griner contended she made “an honest mistake” when she brought vape cartridges through the airport, adding “I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.”
There has ben talsk that a prisoner swap could happen, with Griner going home and Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death,” who is serving a 25-year sentence being sent back. He was convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization.
It’s unclear how far talks about the prisoner swap have progressed.