Brittney Griner’s responsible plea on Thursday in a Russian court docket on drug expenses might have been a part of a method to get a extra lenient sentence, an professional on the Russian authorized system informed USA TODAY Sports activities.
Reuters reported from the courtroom that Griner entered a responsible plea and will resist 10 years in jail. The Russians have accused Griner of large-scale drug transportation. Griner has been in Russian custody since Feb. 17. She spoke to the court docket throughout her plea.
“I would wish to plead responsible, your honor. However there was no intent. I did not wish to break the legislation,” Griner mentioned in English, in response to Reuters, which was then translated into Russian for the court docket.
Later Thursday, hours after her plea, Griner’s authorized workforce launched an announcement saying Griner took “full accountability” for her actions.
“Contemplating the character of her case, the insignificant quantity of the substance and BG’s character and historical past of constructive contributions to world and Russian sport,” the assertion learn partially, “the protection hopes that the plea can be thought-about by the court docket as a mitigating issue and there can be no extreme sentence.”
The assertion concluded her authorized workforce believed the trial would conclude at first of August.
Jamison Firestone, an legal professional, Russian authorized professional and one of many important proponents of the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 legislation that permits the U.S. authorities to sanction human rights violators, believes that admitting guilt might probably enable the Russians to point out Griner leniency.
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“I’m assuming that she had the cartridges along with her,” Firestone informed USA TODAY on Thursday. “I’m additionally assuming that anybody with a mind might see that they have been for her personal private use, and that this was not ‘large-scale transportation of medicine.’
“If she crossed the border with medication, she has to serve time. To disclaim she had the stuff along with her if she did, or to argue whether or not it was large-scale transportation of medicine or not, would have gotten her the utmost sentence. There isn’t a nuance in Russian prison legislation. She can be considered as if she was spitting within the face of the system.”
Firestone added: “However admitting guilt to having the medication, but additionally saying there was no intent, permits the powers that be to point out leniency if they’re so inclined.”
Firestone mentioned the following attainable step can be the Russians deciding to grant that leniency, or doubtlessly utilizing Griner as a bargaining chip in a attainable future prisoner change with america.
“A political resolution will now be made whether or not to be lenient or use her as a bargaining chip,” Firestone mentioned. “I feel she is going to virtually definitely be sentenced to time in a jail camp, however they’re both going to shock us and be considerably lenient with a brief sentence (which she is going to then serve), or they’ll give her an extended sentence and she is going to ultimately be exchanged for somebody.”
The WNBA Gamers Affiliation released a statement on Thursday saying that Griner is wrongfully detained and it will proceed combating for her launch.
“The WNBPA stands with Brittney Griner,” the assertion learn partially. “With a 99 p.c conviction charge, Russia’s course of is its personal. You may’t navigate it and even perceive it like our personal authorized system. What we do know is that the U.S. State Division decided that Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained for a cause and can proceed negotiating for her launch whatever the authorized course of. We’ll go away it at that.”