Brittney Griner, WNBA star, said Thursday morning that she would plead guilty to drug charges in Russia. She stated that the vape cartridges containing cannabis oil had been unintentionally found in her luggage.
Griner stated, "I would like pled myself guilty" when Griner was asked if she would be willing to testify. ABC News was present in the courtroom during hearing.
She said that she did not intend to break Russian law and was in a hurry.
Griner is expected in court to appear on July 14th for the third day her trial.
Griner's trial in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow, began last Friday. It is now more than 4 1/2 years since Griner was released.
Griner, who is a two-time Olympic gold-medalist, was in Russia to play basketball during the off-season. She was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport Feb. 17, after she was accused of using vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. This is illegal in Russia.
Griner's time in detention was repeatedly extended, the most recent being Dec. 20, which was the anticipated length of her trial. Griner, aged 31, could face up to 10 years imprisonment if convicted. She also has the right to appeal.
On May 3, the U.S. classified Griner's case as "wrongfully Detained." This means that the U.S. will be more aggressive in negotiating Griner's release, even though the legal case against Griner is advancing, according to the State Department.
Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, stated that Griner was "wrongfully detained" in a statement following Griner's appearance before a Russian court.
Watson stated that the U.S. government is continuing to work aggressively under President Trump's direction to bring her safely home to her loved ones, family, and friends as soon as possible.
She said, "We will continue to work to secure Brittney’s release, as well the release of Paul Whelan or other U.S. citizens who are wrongfully held hostage in Russia or around the globe," she added.
According to the White House, President Joe Biden called Griner's wife Cherelle Griner to discuss the release of the WNBA star.
The White House released a statement Wednesday saying that the president called Cherelle to assure her that he was working to secure Brittney’s release as quickly as possible.
This call was made months after Cherelle Griner, co-anchor of "Good Morning America", expressed an interest in speaking to Biden about her case.
"I keep hearing that he has power. Cherelle Griner stated in May that she is a political pawn. "So, if they are holding her because you want to do something, then I want to do it."
Griner's first witness was a customs official who was present at Griner’s arrest at the airport. According to The Associated Press, a second witness unidentified was also interrogated by prosecutors behind closed doors. Two other witnesses failed to show, so the trial was rescheduled for today.
The courtroom was opened to representatives of the U.S Embassy and two representatives from Russian or foreign media.
Alexander Boykov, Griner's lawyer, refused to comment on "the specifics of this case and on charges", telling reporters outside the courtroom that it was too soon to make such statements, according to The AP.
One week after Griner's arrest, Russia invaded Ukraine. Officials are worried that Americans in Russia jailed could be used to leverage the ongoing conflict.
Griner, who plays with the Phoenix Mercury, wrote a letter to Biden on Monday in which she asked the White House to help her leave Russia.
Griner wrote to President Obama, "As I sit here alone with my thoughts, without the protection of family, friends and any accomplishments, i'm terrified that I might be here forever."
She added, "It hurts to think about how I celebrate the Fourth of July because freedom means something entirely different to me this Year."
According to the White House, Biden plans to write a response to Griner's message in Russia and he sent a draft of that to Cherelle Griner.
Cherelle Griner wrote on Wednesday, in an Instagram message, that she was grateful for the call from Harris and Biden. She also promised to continue speaking out until her husband is home.
"While I will continue to be concerned and outspoken up until she returns home, I feel hopeful knowing that the President has read my wife's letter. He also took the time and responded. I am sure that BG will find peace knowing that she is not forgotten. Thank you to everyone who has fought for BG. It is a great honor for my whole family and my wife," she wrote.
Please continue to pray for me and my family, as well as all the families of the wrongfully arrested. Our pain will not cease until our loved ones return home. Let's keep speaking out for all wrongfully detained Americans and supporting the Administration in their efforts to bring them home.
This report was contributed by Molly Nagle, Kendall Ross and Teddy Grant from ABC News. Shannon Crawford, Ben Gittleson, and Teddy Grant also contributed.