Here's What Brittney Griner's Guilty Plea Could Signal

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Brittney Griner, whose detention in Russia sparked an international outcry, has pleaded guilty.

As Blavity previously reported, the WNBA star — who was first detained in Russia on February 17, 2022, after hash oil was allegedly discovered in her luggage — told the Russian court that she “inadvertently” carried the prohibited substance into the airport.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner told the judge, according to Reuters. “I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.”

Despite celebrity — and social media — outcry, however, Griner has remained in custody.

Despite her guilty plea, legal experts believe that this is just the beginning of what promises to be a protracted case.

Here’s everything we know, so far, about Griner’s guilty plea and what it may mean for her return to the United States.

This may be a setup for a "prisoner swap"

TJ Quinn, an investigative reporter for ESPN, suggests that Griner’s guilty plea may be a setup for a “prisoner swap” between the United States and Russia. According to the outlet, Russia’s goal is to get reputed arms dealer Viktor Bout — known as the Merchant of Death, and who is serving 25 years in a United States prison for supporting terrorism — released to their custody. Legal experts told the outlet that if Griner pleaded guilty — which she has — it would facilitate the prisoner exchange.

President Joe Biden assured Griner's wife that she'd be brought home

According to ESPN, President Joe Biden called Griner’s wife to assure her that she’d be brought home.

Despite the president’s assurances, however, Cherelle Griner shared her thoughts about Brittney’s detainment.

“I assure you that what and how I feel is no longer hurt by the impact of this tragedy,” she said. “What and how I feel today is a deeper emotion than hurt. I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated that 140 days have passed since my wife has been able to speak to our family and friends. I’m frustrated that my wife is not going to get justice.”

Despite her guilty plea, Griner will still stand trial

In the United States, a guilty plea immediately stops the judicial process, and the defendant waives their right to a trial. That is not the case in Russia.

According to Sports Illustrated, Griner will still have to stand trial for the hash oil possession.

It's not clear how long the trial will last

Despite their best estimates, legal experts aren’t sure how long Brittney’s trial will last.

It could take a few weeks, or it could take a few months.

She's facing up to 10 years in a Russian prison

As of right now, there’s no guarantee that Brittney will be freed, despite the guilty plea and Russian officials’ interests in bringing their prisoner into their custody. Experts suggest that Brittney still faces up to ten years in a Russian prison.