Brittney Griner’s Guilty Verdict Strengthens Supporters’ Resolve

The W.N.B.A. star was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony, but her supporters insist they will do “whatever we can to get her home.”

Nothing about Thursday’s proceedings in a Russian courthouse, where the W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner was being tried on drug smuggling charges, surprised experts familiar with Russia’s legal process. Griner was convicted and sentenced to a penal colony for nine years — just one year shy of the maximum sentence.

Her conviction was thought to be a formality and a prerequisite for a prisoner swap that could lead to her return to the United States.

“I think the negotiations will accelerate now that there’s finality to

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