Brittney Griner has been found guilty of drugs possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on Thursday.
In court outside Moscow, the judge handed down the verdict stemming from the American basketball star’s arrest Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport. Griner had been found with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage, with the court ruling that Griner committed the crime “deliberately.”
The verdict had largely been considered a formality by experts, as the true length of her detainment will be determined by negotiations on a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia.
Russian prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Griner to 9½ years, while her lawyers were seeking the most lenient punishment possible, if any.
Griner had addressed the judge earlier Thursday, saying she “never meant to break any law” and had committed an honest mistake.
She had previously pleaded guilty in court July 7, but the trial continued. As is typical in Russian criminal courts, the judge continued to read the full case file into the record over the past month.
ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.