WNBA's Griner loses Russian prison appeal

STORY: Brittney Griner, the American basketball star being held in Russia on drugs charges, has now lost her court appeal - and remains facing nine years in a Russian penal colony.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, a week before the invasion of Ukraine, and her case became yet another flashpoint between Moscow and Washington - which calls the trial a sham.

She was carrying vape cartridges in her luggage that contained cannabis oil, which is illegal in Russia, and has said it was an "honest mistake." She says she uses it for medicinal purposes to relieve pain from sports injuries.

This was Griner inside the court, and Elizabeth Rood, the top U.S. diplomat in Russia, outside the court:

GRINER: "People with more severe crimes have gotten less than what I was given (...) Yes, I plead guilty. I did not intend to do this, but I understand the charges brought against me. I just hope that that is also taken into account."

ROOD: "Excessive and disproportionate sentence of nine years in a penal colony.(...) Nothing in the previous sentence, nothing in the result of today's appeal, changes the fact that the United States considers Miss Griner to be wrongfully detained."

Griner and her lawyers had asked for an acquittal or reduction in her sentence, which the court denied, except for counting time served pre-trial.

The Biden administration is negotiating for several Americans detained in Russia and has offered to exchange Griner in a prisoner swap for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S.

Moscow has also signaled that it's open for a swap.