A Russian court last Thursday sentenced Brittney Griner to nine years in prison for smuggling illegal drugs into that country. Griner pleaded guilty to the charges last month and apologized for the incident, calling it an “honest mistake.”
The ruling was the latest grim development in a saga that began in February when she was arrested at an airport. It also happened around the same time as that country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
During a recent interview, WNBA legend Lisa Leslie commented on Griner’s sentence.
“It’s unfortunate,” Leslie told Fox News. “But I’m hoping that everything will end up moving in the right direction. I know they had asked for her to plead guilty, she did. Let’s hope we can get an exchange and get her home as soon as possible. Brittney’s always in our prayers and we are all hopeful that this can all come to an end soon.”
Leslie also pointed to Griner’s situation as a future lesson.
“And we learned a lot from that lesson that, you know, for all of us. We have to make good choices and really conscious of how we move because every country is not the same and the rules are different and we have to know that.”
The Biden administration, under public pressure to secure her release, has tried to negotiate with Russia to free her as well as another jailed American, Paul Whelan. A possible prisoner trade could be coming, but it may take several months.