Brittney Griner says she made “an honest mistake” and asked for leniency at the close of her drug-smuggling trial, with a verdict expected to for Thursday.
“I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here,” Griner, 31, said in the Khimki city courthouse.
“I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.
“I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws. I had no intent. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”
During closing arguments, a prosecutor asked for 9.5 years behind bars for Griner, who was arrested at a Moscow airport in February and accused of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.
Prosecutors believe Griner’s guilt was proven
The verdict in the high-profile case is expected to be handed down on Thursday afternoon at 17:45 local time (14.45 GMT).
“The prosecution believes Griner‘s guilt has been fully proven,” prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko said.
Griner could face up to 10 years in prison for the offence, with prosecutors also asking for a fine of one million rubles (more than 16,000 dollars).
Meanwhile, the defence has asked for Griner to be acquitted, or be handed the shortest possible prison sentence.