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What we know as Brittney Griner pleads guilty in a "mind-numbing" trial

As Brittney Griner's trial continues in Russia, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Griner's wife. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerThese are the words Russian legal expert Jamison Firestone used to describe the trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested at an airport outside Moscow in February for allegedly transporting hash oil in vape cartridges. Griner used the second day of the trial to plead guilty. I didn't want to break the law," Griner said in English, per Reuters, which was then translated into Russian for the court. Griner is scheduled to appear in court again next Thursday, Reuters reported. Your guilty plea probably won't change much. With her pre-trial detention extended for another six months last Monday, Griner told the judge she needed more time to prepare her testimony. The Associated Press cited Russian media reports that Griner said she packed her luggage in a hurry before arriving at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. On Thursday, Griner entered the courtroom in a red "Crenshaw" t-shirt, athletic shorts, glasses and her wrists tied. State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed that US Chargé d'Affaires Elizabeth Rood was present at the court's hearings Trial began Friday. Griner, who has not been in court since that day, returned Thursday. "[Rood] was able to speak to Brittney Griner," Price told reporters Tuesday. But I can tell you every single American who is being held hostage, who is being wrongly imprisoned, who is being wrongly imprisoned, that obligation is the same." The decision to plead guilty rests with Griner, her legal team said in a statement on Thursday, "Given the nature of their case, the insignificant amount of substance and personality of BG, and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes the lawsuit will be considered by the court as a mitigating circumstance and it will not be serious circumstances sentence," they said. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Cherelle Griner, wife of Brittney, by phone Wednesday. The White House summarized the call: "The President called Cherelle to reassure her that that he is working to secure Brittney's release as soon as possible." Griner has been in R since February 17 Russia was detained after Russian officials claimed she carried vape cartridges filled with hash oil in her luggage when she returned to the Russian basketball club she plays for during the off-season. Among the current charges she faces, Griner — a two-time gold medalist for Team USA — could face 10 years in prison. According to state-run RIA-Novosti news agency, a customs officer at the airport testified in court and an unidentified witness was questioned in a closed session. Two other witnesses did not show up, according to the Associated Press, citing Russian state media. Griner, 31, did not respond to a lawsuit. The trial could drag on for months, Firestone told USA TODAY Sports, and will almost certainly end in a conviction. Thursday marked the 140th day in custody for Griner, who was declared "wrongly detained" by the US in May. On the call, the White House said Biden could read a draft of the letter, which he intended to write back to Griner. The White House also focused on other Americans being held hostage or wrongly arrested abroad, noting Paul Whelan, who has been held in Russia since his arrest in December 2018 on espionage charges. With each passing day, the pressure from Griner's supporters on the Biden administration to help her grows. "If it was LeBron (James) he would be home right?" Vanessa Nygaard, the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team, told Griner. On July 4, Griner's reps released excerpts from a letter she wrote to Biden. "Freedom means something completely different to me this year," Griner wrote. Griner, a WNBA champion, wrote an impassioned plea to Biden in her letter: "Sitting here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or any accomplishments, I have ' I'm afraid I might be here forever," Griner wrote. I have so much good left to do with my freedom that you can help restore it." White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday Biden read the letter and said it was a "personal" matter for him. Awareness of Griner's plight continued at home this week. Rep. Greg Stanton , D-Ariz., who sponsored a resolution calling for Griner's immediate release passed by the House of Representatives last month, along with which Mercury hosted a rally that also held a shoe drive on her behalf. Cherelle Griner was in attendance and spoke to the crowd."That could easily be any of us," she said.Mercury teammate Brianna Turner told the crowd, who were holding "Bring Brittney Home" signs, that she exchanged letters with the seven-time All-Star on Tuesday Cherelle Griner hadn't heard from the White House, calling the initial silence "disheartening." There were talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, according to the White House. Cherelle Griner had previously been dismayed at the State Department's failure to get her through the phone with Griner on June 20, her anniversary. "It breaks my heart to hear her say that," Cherelle Griner said of her wife's letter to the President on CBS. More than 1,100 prominent black women signed a letter this week urging Biden to "make a deal to bring Brittney home quickly and safely and meet immediately with Brittney's wife, Cherelle." "Let's make sure this government knows they have our support to do whatever it takes and that we will never stand still until they are safe at home," Cherelle Griner said Wednesday. S. successfully negotiated the return via prisoner exchange of ex-Marine Trevor Reed, who was serving a nine-year sentence in Russia. Supporters have encouraged the government to take a similar tack on the return of Griner and Whelan. According to the Associated Press, Russian state media began pinning Viktor Bout's name to all deals involving Griner. Nicknamed the "Dealer of Death," Bout is a notorious arms dealer who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012 for conspiring to sell arms to people, including Colombian rebels, who plotted to kill Americans. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned Thursday that "attempts by the American side to make noise in public...

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WNBA star Brittney Griner pleads guilty in Russia, saying in court she accidentally brought marijuana into the country

If convicted of drug smuggling, Griner faces ten years in a Russian prison. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerWNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling in Russia on Thursday, saying in a Moscow court she accidentally brought marijuana into the country. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after Russian officials claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage. A Russian judge ordered Phoenix Mercury center Griner, who played in Russia during the WNBA off-season, to remain in custody. "I would like to plead guilty to the charges against me, but I had no intention of breaking any Russian law," she told the court. Griner's Russian legal team said the guilty plea was "her decision, made through discussions with her legal defense team." "Brittney is an example of being brave," the attorneys said in a statement. "Given the nature of their case, the insignificant amount of BG's substance and personality, and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes the lawsuit will be considered by the court as a mitigating circumstance and that there will be no cumulative verdict." At Thursday's hearing, another witness was questioned before Griner pleaded guilty. If convicted of drug smuggling, Griner faces 10 years in a Russian prison. Griner's plea could bring the verdict in her case closer, which would then allow their defense team and the U.S. Russian media had speculated that Griner could be part of a prisoner swap similar to that agreed between the U.S. and Russia this spring, swapping former Marines Trevor Reed with pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who years ago was jailed for drug smuggling A senior Russian diplomat signaled earlier Thursday that Moscow was ready to negotiate Griner's fate, but only after the court had rendered its verdict. S. is trying to "foment hype around Griner's case" after the US government classified her as "wrongly detained" and hired a "hostage envoy" to work on her case. "We have a long-established form of discussing these issues, and the attempts by the American side to create hype and make noise in public, we realize they do not help to solve the problem in practical terms," ​​Ryabkov said . according to the TASS news agency. In a handwritten letter from Griner, delivered to the White House on Monday, the WNBA player wrote how terrified she was that she could be locked up in Russia "forever." The White House said he was "trying to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney's release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other US citizens wronged in Russia and around the world." be arrested or held hostage”.

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Here's what Brittney Griner's guilty plea means — and what's next in her Russian trial

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to her drug trial in Moscow. Here's why the WNBA player was in Russia and what her request means. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney Griner'sAccording to Russian news agencies, American WNBA star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling during her trial in Moscow. Griner was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in February after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage. Thursday's reports said Griner said through an interpreter that she acted unintentionally because she was packing in a hurry. The process started last week. Like many WNBA stars, including Mercury teammate Diana Taurasi, Griner has played winter games in Russia for the past seven years and has earned more than $1 million per season -- more than four times her WNBA salary. She last played for her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on Jan. 29 before the league went on a two-week hiatus in early February for the FIBA ​​World Cup qualifying tournaments. She was arrested in Moscow on February 17 when she returned to Russia. This move is not expected to end her trial in Russia anytime soon. The trial will continue even with a guilty plea before the Russian criminal courts. Griner reportedly said in English, "I wish to plead guilty, Your Honor. Her words were then translated into Russian for the court. The next court date was scheduled for July 14, but Griner has asked for more prep time USA Today quoted Jamison Firestone, a lawyer and Russian legal expert, as saying Griner's guilty plea could be part of a strategy to get a lighter sentence, or made to facilitate a prisoner exchange that could bring Griner home to acknowledge that there was no chance she would be acquitted of the charges. Griner was charged with large-scale drug trafficking. The State Department issued a statement Thursday saying it would continue to advocate for Griner's release. S. Embassy in Moscow, told reporters after the hearing that she spoke to Griner in the courtroom, at the time she shared with Griner a letter sent by President Joe Biden to the S. government at the highest level to keep M. safe bringing home S. Griner and all unjustly detained US citizens, as well as the commitment of the US Embassy in Moscow to look after and protect the interests of all US citizens detained or detained in Russia," Rood said. In the In the letter, Griner expressed her fears that she could remain imprisoned in Russia forever and urged Biden to use all his strength to bring her and others imprisoned in Russia home Hearts," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, confirming that Biden read the letter. "He takes this job very seriously, especially when it comes to rescuing wrongfully detained US citizens se.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Brittney Griner's guilty plea doesn't mean what you think it does. A lawyer explains.

Brittney Griner's admission to drug charges is being called a guilty plea, but an expert on Russian law says it's not an accurate description of what happened. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney Griner'sWNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a hearing in Khimki near Moscow, Russia on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges during her trial in Moscow on Thursday, but said she had no intention of committing a crime, Russian news agencies reported. FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on July 1, 2022. Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Thursday, July 7, 2022 amid calls for Washington to do more to secure her release. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage. American basketball star Brittney Griner's plea of ​​guilt in a Russian drug court on Thursday is being called a guilty plea, but a Russian law expert says it's not an accurate description of what happened. Griner is not actually pleading guilty in direct exchange for a lesser sentence, as is done in the US, said William Butler, a law professor at Pennsylvania State University and an expert on Russian law. GRINERS TRIAL: Things to know about WNBA star Brittney Griner as the Houston native pleads guilty in Russia It doesn't affect the burden of proof prosecutors have to fulfill," Butler said of the WNBA player, who was arrested in February and has since been imprisoned in Russia. So, under current Russian law, the courts must consider whether prosecutors have evidence of the crime, regardless of whether there is a confession. In Russia, charges are more selective -- only when prosecutors are fully convinced of guilt, Butler said -- resulting in a much higher conviction rate. Griner now admits in court that she got drugs through customs, Butler said, a crime in Russia. Russian news reports quoted Griner as saying through an interpreter at the court hearing that she acted unintentionally because she was packing in a hurry. Butler said the recording would likely be part of a broader argument by Griner's attorneys for leniency during the sentencing phase of the trial, which comes next. OPINION: Solomon: Brittney Griner deserves a safe journey home While the maximum sentence for the drug charges Griner faces is 10 years, it's unlikely she would get the maximum sentence anyway, Butler said. "This is where Russian lawyers come in when they make this type of argument," Butler said. The White House has said Griner is "wrongly detained in Russia in intolerable circumstances" and that President Joe Biden will "pursue every opportunity to bring Brittney home." Deborah Jackson, who recruited Griner to play basketball as a freshman in high school and coached her when she went All American and signed to Baylor University, said in a phone call she believes Griner is being wrongly prosecuted. "In my opinion, her legal team advised her to plead guilty because she would be found guilty no matter what she said," Jackson said. I don't think she had the drug paraphernalia - I think it was planted herself. Brittney is an intelligent young lady," she said, noting that Griner played international basketball for many years during the WNBA offseasons. I don't think she could have cleared Newark airport security on her way to Russia. "She happened to be arrested at a very bad moment in international relations," Butler said. If she was carrying drugs, he said, "she seems to have made a very bad decision before she arrived, and there were consequences." MORE ABOUT GRINER: Biden tells Brittney Griner's wife he's working on getting her home Some media reports suggest that convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, the subject of Nicholas Cage's Lord of War film, could be traded for Griner in a prisoner swap. The attorney said this is what Moscow wanted, NBC reported news. Bout was convicted of much more serious charges than Griner was accused of. But prisoner swaps between countries are subject to political and legal negotiation and horse-trading, Butler said, so ultimately it will be between U. Griner's guilty plea. Butler said it won't necessarily expedite the process as much as it does in the United States because of differences in treatment of confessions , but it would be odd if the US were to negotiate the release of someone imprisoned in a foreign country before actually being convicted of the crime." "It would be very unusual, I can't think of a case, but I can err, but in any country we would try to free e someone from conviction," Butler said. As a person, Griner loves practical jokes and doesn't mind jokes at his own expense, Jackson said. "I know she has many more supporters than detractors, and I hope her knowledge and love will keep her strong as she goes through this ordeal," Jackson said. Griner has also represented the United States on two Olympic gold-medal basketball teams. Jackson said she remembers watching the medal ceremony in 2020. "[Griner] had tears rolling down her cheeks," Jackson recalled. "I know she loves this country.

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WNBA's Brittney Griner pleads guilty in her drug trial in Russia

The abrupt plea of ​​guilt by the Phoenix Mercury Center and the two-time Olympic gold medalist came amid a growing chorus of demands for Washington to do more to secure her freedom. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerMOSCOW (AP) - American basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession charges on the second day of her trial in a Russian court, in a count that could see her sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. The abrupt plea of ​​guilty by the Phoenix Mercury Center and the two-time Olympic gold medalist came amid a growing chorus of demands for Washington to do more to secure her freedom nearly five months after her February arrest amid rising tensions between the United States. A senior Russian diplomat previously said Moscow could not take any action in Griner's case until the end of the trial, and her guilty plea could be an attempt by her and her advisers to expedite the trial. Griner, 31, was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport returning to Russia to play basketball and police said she found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Through an interpreter, Griner told the court that she had no intention of committing a crime and acted unintentionally because she was packing in a hurry to Moscow. Griner emphasized "that she committed this act negligently, unintentionally," said her lawyer Maria Blagovolina after the guilty plea in a court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki. "Of course we hope for the leniency of the court," she said. "Taking into account all the circumstances of the case and taking into account the personality of our client, we believe that the admission of guilt should certainly be taken into account." White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Griner's guilty plea "will have no impact on the negotiations" involving her case. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington will remain committed to the release of Griner and other Americans held by Moscow, including former Marine Paul Whelan. "We will not back down until Brittney, Paul Whelan and all other wrongly imprisoned Americans are reunited with their loved ones," he tweeted, noting that U. Elizabeth Rood, the embassy's deputy chief of mission, said after the hearing, with the she spoke to Griner in the courtroom and shared with her a letter she had read from President Joe Biden. "She is eating well, she can read books and is doing well given the circumstances," Rood said. S. government at the highest level to bring Ms. Griner and all unjustly detained US citizens home safely, as well as a commitment by the US Embassy in Moscow to look after the interests of all US citizens detained or detained in Russia and protect them.” Rood said. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov balked at the US description of Griner as “unlawfully detained” and warned that “attempts by the US side to make noise in public … do not contribute to the practical resolution of problems”. The White House said Biden called Cherelle Griner Wednesday to reassure her that he was doing everything possible to secure her release as soon as possible. They spoke after Biden read a letter from Griner in which she said she feared she would never return home. Washington has not disclosed its strategy in this case, and the US may have little leverage over Moscow due to strong hostility over its actions in Ukraine. The State Department's designation of Griner as a wrongfully imprisoned puts her case under the oversight of the President's Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, effectively the government's chief hostage negotiator. When asked about the possibility of swapping Griner for a Russian jailed in the US, Ryabkov, the senior Russian diplomat, noted that until the end of her trial, "there are no formal or procedural grounds to talk about further steps." S.'s criticism, including a description of Griner as an unjustly imprisoned person and derogatory comments about Russia's judicial system, "makes it difficult to engage in a detailed discussion of a possible replacement." The S. government ... describes those serving prison sentences on serious criminal articles and those awaiting the conclusion of investigations and court verdicts as "wrongly imprisoned," reflecting Washington's refusal to take a sober look at the outside world to have,” Ryabkov snapped. Griner's trial was adjourned after it began last week because two scheduled witnesses failed to appear. Such delays are commonplace in Russian courts, and her detention has been granted until December 20, suggesting the trial could take months. Although Griner's supporters initially kept a low profile, calls for Washington grew louder after the first day of the July 1 trial. An organization called Win With Black Women wrote that Biden said Blinken called Cherelle Griner “to reassure her and state publicly that Brittney's safe return was a matter of personal priority; However, we are concerned that the rhetoric does not appear to be consistent with the actions taken so far. We urge you to strike a deal to bring Brittney home quickly.” Russian media have repeatedly speculated that Griner could be traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed the “Dealer of Death,” who has a 25- year in prison in the United States. Russia has campaigned for Bout's release for years. But the wide discrepancy between Griner's alleged wrongdoing and Bout's global deadly weapons trade could make such a trade unpalatable to Washington. Others have suggested she could be traded with Paul Whelan, the former Director of Navy and Security who served 16 years in Russia on a spy conviction that U. Whelan's brother David said he did not have enough information to know if Griner's plea would be good or bad news for her and his brother. "The conviction rate in Russia is so high and so certain that I could view the guilty plea as an attempt to simply move the process forward," said David Whelan, noting that the Russian government does not have "a release for Ms. Griner until." condemn them, convict them, and possibly appeal or ask for a pardon.” Her plea likely means that Washington and Moscow “will be able to find a solution faster than before. S. must find a concession that Russia will accept to return either Brittney Griner or Paul Whelan or both,” he added. The WNBA players' union said in a statement it stands by Griner, noting the 99% conviction rate in Russian courts. "You can't navigate it or understand it like our own legal system," said WNBAPA Executive Director Terri Jackson. S.'s State Department has determined that Brittney Griner was unfairly detained for a reason, and we leave it at that. "... Attempts to portray the case as if the American had been illegally detained do not stand up," he said Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev on Wednesday. "The law has been violated and arguments about the innocence of Griner's addiction, which incidentally is a criminal offense in some US states, are inappropriate in this case," he said. AP basketball writer Doug Feinberg in New York and Ellen Knickmeyer and Seung Min Kim in Washington contributed.

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WNBA star Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug-related offenses in Russian court

Basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug-related offenses in a Moscow court on Thursday, which faces up to 10 years in prison (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerAmerican basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Moscow court on Thursday, her lawyers said, and faced up to 10 years in prison as her family and friends stepped up their demands for U. Griner, 31, who was killed in February arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport after Russian authorities said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in their luggage. Griner's attorney, Alexander Boikov, told reporters after Thursday's courtroom hearing that the basketball star admitted the vape canisters belonged to her but unintentionally brought them to Russia. He said that Griner was a "responsible person" in response to a question about why she decided to plead guilty. "Given her personality, she's a role model for a lot of people, for a lot of young people - she just thinks she should be responsible for her actions," her other lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, told reporters. In a statement, her attorneys added that because of the "insignificant" amount of substance found and because of Griner's "positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes the lawsuit will be considered a mitigating circumstance by the court rather than a harsh sentence." Griner's next hearing is scheduled for next Thursday. Her last court appearance comes after President Joe Biden attempted to reassure Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, that he was working to secure her release as soon as possible. Griner wrote an emotional letter to the President this week, asking him to take her home. S. Embassy officials who attended the trial were able to speak with Griner and delivered a letter from Biden: "We will not back down until Brittney, Paul Whelan and all of our wrongfully imprisoned Americans are reunited with their loved ones," he said. In a statement, she said: "As we have said, we believe that the Russian Federation is unfairly detaining Brittney Griner in intolerable circumstances. S.'s government continues to work aggressively and is pursuing all options to get her safely home to her family, friends and loved ones as soon as possible. We will continue this work to secure the release of Brittney, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other US citizens who are being unjustly detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” said in a tweet following the hearing Whelan's twin, David, he hopes "Griner's guilty plea will hasten the end of the injustice she is witnessing. Russia will not work to send her home until there is a conviction and verdict.” S. Embassy in Moscow said after the hearing that she could speak to Griner in the courtroom and Griner said she was eating well. "She can read books and is doing well given the circumstances," Rood said in a statement. Griner's arrest came just days before Russia's invasion of Ukraine began and has highlighted the shattered relations between Washington and Moscow. The Kremlin has been accused of using Griner as a political pawn, while the Biden administration said she was "wrongly imprisoned". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied holding Griner hostage. Griner, a 6-foot-9 native of Houston, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a center for the Phoenix Mercury, who played for a Russian basketball team in the WNBA's offseason. Russian criminal law experts say Griner faces at least five years in prison on the charges, but her decision to admit her guilt may have been made to mitigate the 10-year maximum sentence. Her attorneys could also argue that she earns less than the mandatory five years, said William E. Butler, author of "Russian Law and Legal Institutions" and a professor at Penn State Dickinson Law. "The conviction here is crucial now," Butler said, adding that "the question will be whether there are reasons to give her less than five." In a statement released to NBC News later Thursday, Griner's attorneys said they expect the trial to end in early August and hope for a light sentence. "Given the nature of their case, the insignificant amount of BG's substance and personality, and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes the lawsuit will be considered by the court as a mitigating circumstance and that there will be no aggravated sentence ", the statement said. Since her trial began, her family, friends and co-workers have been increasing their calls for the U. Her team held a rally in support of her in Phoenix on Wednesday, while Rev. Al Sharpton called on Biden and Blinken Tuesday to arrange for him and a group of faith leaders to meet Griner in Russia. The White House said Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called Cherelle Griner Wednesday to reassure her that the president was working to secure Griner's release. He also read her a draft of the letter he was sending Griner, according to the White House call readout. It came after Griner said in the handwritten letter addressed to Biden this week that she was afraid of being in Russian prison forever and implored him to do whatever he could to bring her home. Officials have said they are working behind the scenes to free her. So far, Washington has not officially commented on possible prisoner swaps, despite speculation in Russian state media in May that Griner could be swapped for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence, U.S. news NBC News can't agree with those reports confirm. Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that "advertising and hype" in the media and online about Americans detained in Russia is hampering Moscow-US interaction on prisoner exchanges, according to the state-run Tass news agency. Ahead of Griner's guilty plea, Deputy State Department spokesman Alexey Zaitsev said Wednesday that she was arrested for "a serious criminal offense corroborated by indisputable evidence." But he said she is free to appeal and ask for clemency. Regarding a possible prisoner exchange, Zaitsev said the court must first reach a verdict, which he estimates could take at least a month. "Brittney is an example of being brave," her attorneys said in Thursday's statement.

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Kyrgios, Nadal and a contrast in styles and storylines in the Wimbledon semifinals

The Australian stormed onto the stage when he upset the 22-time Slam champion at Wimbledon in 2014. Now he looks to another turning point against Nadal. (Author: Gardener)

WimbledonWIMBLEDON, England—While many followed the seeds and followed the story, predicting a final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in men's singles (the first and second seeds at the event) after the Wimbledon draw was announced, there was another potential one Clash that caught people's attention on Nadal's side of the bracket. When Nick Kyrgios entered the tournament there were two schools of thought: the Australian could come into his first match and be out by lunchtime; or he could come and show off his skills and have a chance to win it all. Ten days after Wimbledon 2022, we're moving towards Option B as Kyrgios and Nadal clash in one half of the men's semifinals on Friday, while Djokovic takes on crowd favorite Cameron Norrie in the other. Let's start with Kyrgios and Nadal. There are many contrasts here. It was at Wimbledon that Kyrgios burst onto the tennis scene after scoring a shocking upset against Nadal in the fourth round in 2014. The Aussie was just 19 then and the first teenager to defeat a No.1 seed in a Grand Slam since Nadal did the same against a lad named Roger Federer in 2005. Since then, Kyrgios has remained an enticing underachiever who is immensely talented is; and tremendously unwilling to work and do what is necessary to maximize his chances of success. Just look at how the 22-time Grand Slam champion recovered in the quarterfinals. He was demonstratively injured and pitching in his 90s (mph) - the equivalent of a pitcher throwing a 70mph fastball - but found a way to collect himself from two sets, forcing a tie break in the fifth set and motivating one Beat Taylor Fritz. Nadal was pushed for over four hours, apparently injured with a nagging abdominal problem, to the point where his father Sebastian told him to stop from the player's box. The drama, coupled with Nadal's grimaces after points, sparked all kinds of real-time speculation as to whether he would end the match. Kyrgios, on the other hand, was notable and uncharacteristically matter-of-fact in his straight-set win over Cristian Garin. There are so many variables with Kyrgios and when you face Nadal there is also a clear contrast in styles. Kyrgios respects Nadal for what he has achieved but they are not 'buds'. Kyrgios races between serve points to the baseline, while before a serve Nadal goes through a methodical step-by-step process that unofficially led to the sport adopting a serve clock. There are many players who like Kyrgios (Andy Murray for example) and players who like his antics on the pitch and he has friends in the dressing room. However, Nadal is not one of them. I think Nadal is almost personally offended, not so much by his antics as by how Kyrgios is using his talents and wasting those gifts. Nadal said that after Kyrgios defeated him in Acapulco three years ago. "He could win Grand Slams and fight for the top spots in the rankings, but there's a reason he's where he is," Nadal told reporters at the time. It's not like Kyrgios gets under Nadal's skin during matches - he'll take care of his half of the pitch but will have no patience for some of the things he might find disrespectful, such as: Kyrgios could implode at any moment and the smallest thing could upset him. There's a lot of wear and tear from those games - and unless you play tennis full-time, like Kyrgios doesn't, and you don't train full-time, like Kyrgios will be happy to tell you, who knows what stamina he'll have six games into a tournament like Wimbledon Has. Kyrgios has the best serve of anyone left in the draw, he's got youth on his side (against Nadal at least) but he's such an unpredictable player. Kyrgios needs to serve well and move Nadal. He will know how bad Nadal's stomach injury really is early in the match. Nadal had bagged the area in the fourth round and it seemed to flare up against Fritz after about an hour. He practiced on Thursday, but for less than half an hour, amid reports circulating that he has a 7mm tear in the area. Nadal, who leads the overall series 6-3, will be ready and will overcome any nagging pain. He needs to find a way to get his serve despite the injury because you're not going to hit Kyrgios with a 90-something-mph serve. As always, Nadal will pass, pass, pass. Djokovic definitely wanted David Goffin, a smaller version of himself, to get past Norrie in the quarterfinals. Norrie, being left-handed, makes players uncomfortable and makes it difficult for them to find their own rhythm. The big X factor here is crowd, and they know it. Tennis fans know Djokovic won't like an 85-15 split in the crowd, which will no doubt be for Norrie. It's hard to imagine Djokovic losing this match, but the combination of an uncomfortable left-hander and an inhospitable crowd might upset him a bit. Questions arose at Wimbledon as to whether the lack of matchplay this year would hamper Djokovic's success, but he has been looking and shaping up throughout the tournament. Nadal in five, Djokovic in straight sets... and we'll see the 60th meeting between these two generations of players in the Wimbledon final.

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Who is Shivon Zilis? Meet the Neuralink executive and AI expert who had twins with Elon Musk

Neuralink manager Shivon Zilis turned out to be the mother of Elon Musk's 9-month-old twin boys, who were born weeks before his second child with Grimes. (Author: Gardener)

Shivon Zilis* Elon Musk fathered twins with Shivon Zilis, an executive at one of his companies, Neuralink. * Zilis, 36, has had a successful career in venture capital and artificial intelligence. * She and Musk recently applied to change the twins' last names, according to documents obtained by Insider. The mother of Elon Musk's newly revealed 9-month-old twins is a woman who has worked in the billionaire's orbit for several years. Insider reported Wednesday that Musk fathered twins with Shivon Zilis, director of operations and special projects at Neuralink, a company that makes computer chips that can be implanted in the brain. Zilis and Musk recently filed a petition to change the twins' names to "have their father's last name and include their mother's last name as part of their middle name," according to court documents. Musk -- the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink and a potential future owner of Twitter -- has seven other living children, including five with his first wife Justine and two with his partner Grimes. Zilis, 36, has had a successful career in both venture capital and artificial intelligence - here's everything we know about her. Born in Markham, Ontario, Zilis grew up playing ice hockey. She attended Yale University, where she played goaltender on the women's ice hockey team. After graduating from Yale, Zilis got a job at IBM where she focused on financial technology for three years. She later joined early-stage venture capital fund Bloomberg Beta, where she led investment efforts in data and machine learning. Her work at Bloomberg Beta earned her a spot on the 2015 Forbes 30 under 30 list in the venture capital category. Zilis worked as a project lead at Tesla from 2017 to 2019, providing her AI expertise to the autopilot and chip design teams. Zilis developed an interest in artificial intelligence around the age of 12 or 13 when she heard about the concept from Our Lady Peace's album Spiritual Machines. It prompted her to read a book by Ray Kurzweil of a similar name and sparked her passion for AI, she said during a 2021 speech at the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on AI. "I've basically spent most of the last decade focusing on and around the AI ​​thriving in the world in the best possible way," she said. It was AI that led her to Musk: In 2016, Zilis joined OpenAI, a nonprofit co-founded by a group that included Musk and former Y Combinator President Sam Altman. OpenAI's mission is to find ways in which AI can benefit humanity as a whole. In 2017, Zilis joined Neuralink, the futuristic brain microchip company also co-founded by Musk. Neuralink has a short-term goal, Musk said, of using implantable devices to solve brain and spine problems, and a long-term mission of achieving a "symbiosis" between artificial intelligence and the human brain. Neuralink has tested its chips on a pig and a monkey -- which has angered animal rights groups -- and Musk suggested last year that Neuralink would start implanting chips in humans in 2022. "AI will be one of the fundamentally transformative technologies that humanity creates, if not most," she said. In 2020, Musk publicly clashed with the state of California over its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, calling them "fascist" and "compulsive." He promised that Tesla would then move its headquarters to Texas, prompting California State Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher to tweet "F*ck Elon Musk." "No one is perfect, but I have never met anyone who goes through more personal pain to fight for an inspiring future for humanity - and has done so tirelessly for decades," Zilis wrote. Tesla's new Gigafactory is near Austin, and court documents obtained by Insider list Musk and Zilis as residents of that address. However, Musk has said his primary residence is a $50,000 modular home in Boca Chica near the SpaceX launch facility in South Texas. Zilis and Musk's twins were born in November, just weeks before Musk and musician Grimes welcomed their second child via surrogate.

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Elon Musk makes a personal gesture to help solve a global problem

Tesla's billionaire CEO worries about a shrinking world population as he sets out to conquer Mars. (Author: Gardener)

TeslaTesla's billionaire CEO worries about a shrinking world population as he sets out to conquer Mars. The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report, which has become one of the most influential voices in the world, has been warning for several months about what he believes to be the most serious global threat: the decline in world population, and especially in rich countries. “Unless something fundamental changes at the level of the human birth rate. But that, by the way, is the single greatest threat to civilization right now, in my opinion," Musk, 51, said during a virtual appearance at the recent All-In conference held in Miami on May 16. To back up his claim and warning, the tech tycoon has been publishing news articles for several weeks, focusing on the ongoing population declines in Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Italy and the declining birth rate in the US. "The last two years have been a demographic disaster," Musk wrote on Twitter on June 14, speaking about the US. The post brought back a tweet from May in which he was already concerned about the declining birth rate in the US. "The US birth rate has been below minimum for about 50 years," Musk tweeted at the time. A recent study predicts that the world population will peak at 9.7 billion in 2064 before falling to 8.8 billion in 2100. But if we follow the curve of the world population growth rate, demographers say the population would be declining around 2060. The annual growth rate of world population was 2.1% in the 1970s. The serial entrepreneur — he founded rocket developer SpaceX, infrastructure provider Boring Co. and medical technology company Neuralink — says one way to solve this big problem is to have kids and celebrate humanity. "I mean, I do my part haha," Musk said in another tweet on June 14. The first is that the billionaire is already doing everything possible to warn about this issue. The billionaire seems to be taking his own advice privately, too: Late last year, he expanded his family by giving birth to a seventh child, a girl named Y, with Canadian singer Grimes. But we have to think he didn't stop there, as the charismatic CEO appears to confirm a report from Insider that says he has two other children, twins, with a senior Neuralink executive, Shivon Zilis. According to insiders, in April Musk and the executive asked a Texas judge to change the children's names to reflect their two last names. "I'm doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis," Musk tweeted on July 7, a few hours after the insider article was published. "A collapsing birth rate is by far the greatest danger facing civilization." This news was followed by more tweets, including one celebrating large families. "Far too many people are under the illusion that the earth is overpopulated when the birthrate trend is so obviously heading towards a population collapse," Musk said in another tweet. The twins bring Musk's offspring to nine. In fact, the billionaire already has two children, Y and X, with Grimes. Musk and Wilson lost their first child, Nevada, to sudden infant death syndrome at just 10 weeks old. The billionaire's tweets about having a large family were met with comments on social media from users believing he can afford to have as many children as he wants because he is rich. But the billionaire had expected this criticism weeks ago. no The richer you are, the fewer children you have; The more educated you are, the fewer children you have," he said in May. The expansion of his family and concerns about the declining world population come as Musk looks to conquer other planets, particularly Mars, with his exploration company SpaceX. "The population of Mars is still zero people!" Musk reiterated in a July 7 tweet.

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Is Elon Musk Trying To Populate Mars Himself?

The mogul fathered twins with a Neuralink employee. (Author: Gardener)

NeuralinkElon Musk thinks he's a problem solver. A declining birthrate is by far the greatest threat to civilization," he tweeted Thursday, a day after Insiders reported he was having secret twins with one of his top executives. With the twins, Musk's brood now totals nine children. Large families do not pose a moral dilemma, no matter who is involved. Musk's nine kids aren't the problem. As Insider noted in his report on the twins, Musk is something of an obstetrician who frequently talks about an alleged population collapse. He has tweeted "more than a dozen times about population issues" since early 2022, Insider reported. In one such tweet, sent out in April, he argued that while humanity did not evolve to mourn the unborn, it should. Underpopulation may not be "by far the greatest threat facing civilization," as Musk claimed, but there seems little doubt that the mogul believes what he says. "Part of Musk's concern about declining birth rates seems to stem from the idea that there won't be enough humans to populate Mars," Insider reported. "Population of Mars is still zero people!" he tweeted Thursday, as if populating Mars under his own steam. Musk believes that humans must become a multiplanetary species in order to survive, and also believes he can make it happen. In addition to his Martian fantasies, Musk's confidence in his personal intelligence may help explain his desire for such a large family. When I ask my friends why they don't have kids yet (very few do), it sounds just like in the movie," he tweeted in June. The film depicts a future Earth where intelligent people have been bred from those of lesser minds - a restrained eugenic premise that somehow seems to have captured Musk's imagination. There are almost 8 billion people on earth; So there is no shortage of potential Mars colonists. Musk's recent decision to have children with an employee raises ethical questions that don't seem to bother the mogul in the slightest. "I hope you have big families and congratulations to those who already do!" he tweeted. My own fantasies have nothing to do with Mars, but involve paid parental leave, child support, universal health care, and other support options for large families. It is perhaps telling that Musk prefers to focus on Mars -- a theoretical future rather than our unequal present.

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