In handcuffs and in tears, Griner says: ‘I love my family’

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Court hearing of U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner

KHIMKI, Russia (Reuters) -U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner said “I love my family” as she was led out of a Russian courtroom in handcuffs after being jailed for nine years on drugs charges, a Reuters reporter at the court said.

Her voice quavering and visibly in tears, Griner said she understood the sentence before being led away.

Outside the courtroom, Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina said: “She is very upset, very stressed. She can hardly talk. It’s a difficult time for her.”

“When we saw Brittney on Tuesday, we told her ‘see you on Thursday’. She said, ‘see you on doomsday. So it looks like she was right,” Blagovolina said.

Griner was convicted on charges of drugs possession and smuggling after she entered Russia with cannabis-infused vape cartridges. During her closing remarks, she said it had been “an honest mistake”.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan)

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