Before Thursday’s hearing, Ms. Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, said that her guilty plea wouldn’t affect the trial’s pace.
The Plight of Brittney Griner in Russia
The American basketball star has endured months in a Russian prison on charges of smuggling hashish oil into the country.
“The court will be looking at all evidence in any case,” said Ms. Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin, a Moscow law firm, adding: “We hope that her guilty plea would make the court more lenient.”
Whatever the outcome of the case, the emotional cost for Ms. Griner, who has two Olympic gold medals, has been severe.
“I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Griner wrote in a recent letter to President Biden, adding, “Please don’t forget about me.”
Tania Ganguli contributed reporting.