Vice President Kamala Harris has been slammed online arsenic a hypocrite aft she condemned Russian officials for sentencing hoops prima Brittney Griner to 9 years successful situation for cause smuggling.
The WNBA prima was recovered blameworthy connected Thursday by a justice who rejected her assertion she accidentally brought a marijuana pen into the country. Prosecutors had asked that she beryllium jailed for nine-and-a-half years, six months little than the maximum of 10 years successful prison.
Her attorneys accidental they person 10 days to entreaty the verdict and sentencing, and that the emblematic condemnation handed down for specified a crime is six years.
Following the announcement, Harris tweeted: 'With today's sentencing, Russia continues its wrongful detention of Brittney Griner. Sher should beryllium released immediately.'
She added that she and President Joe Biden 'are moving each time to reunite Brittney, arsenic good arsenic Paul Whelan, with loved ones who miss each of them dearly.'
But astir instantly aft she posted her condemnation of Griner's sentencing, radical connected Twitter pointed retired that she locked up thousands of radical connected marijuana charges portion she was the territory lawyer of San Francisco.
As writer Tim Young wrote: 'Brittney Griner got 9 years for cause possession successful Russia... which sounds similar astir of the transgression sentences Kamala Harris got radical for the aforesaid happening erstwhile she was lawyer wide of California.'
Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the 9 twelvemonth condemnation of hoops prima Brittney Griner connected Thursday
Several radical connected Twitter, including writer Tim Young, were speedy to constituent retired that she locked up thousands of radical connected marijuana charges portion she was the District Attorney of San Francisco
During her tenure arsenic DA, Harris oversaw more than 1,900 marijuana convictions, and prosecutors successful her bureau convicted radical connected marijuana charges astatine a higher complaint than her predecessor
In fact, arsenic the territory attorney, Harris oversaw much than 1,900 marijuana convictions, and prosecutors successful her bureau convicted radical connected marijuana charges astatine a higher complaint than her predecessor, according to Mercury News.
A 2019 probe by the Washington Free Beacon besides recovered that betwixt 2011 and 2016, portion Harris was the California lawyer general, astatine slightest 1,560 radical were sent to California authorities prisons connected marijuana-related offenses.
And although the fig of low-level marijuana offenders sent to authorities prisons importantly declined aft 2011, that was attributed to a state-wide inaugural to curb authorities situation overcrowding and divert lower-level offenders to region jails.
Harris has besides antecedently spoken retired against the legalization of marijuana — actively warring a ballot measurement for recreational marijuana usage successful 2010, erstwhile she co-authored the absorption argument in a elector guide.
By 2014, erstwhile she was the state's lawyer general, law enforcement officers moving for her authorities Department of Justice rented a chopper to look for marijuana patches to raid without warrants, the San Francisco Weekly reported astatine the time.
They were utilizing the 'open fields doctrine,' which meant that immoderate marijuana basal not wrong the 'curtilage' of a residence could beryllium destroyed without a warrant aft being spotted from the air.
Harris really only came retired for legalizing marijuana successful 2018 — aft she was wide considered a statesmanlike contender.
Still, Harris is not the lone American authoritative who has gone aft marijuana users successful the past.
According to an investigation by the ACLU, marijuana arrests present relationship for implicit fractional of each cause arrests successful the United States, and of the 8.2 cardinal marijuana busts betwixt 2001 to 2010, 88 percent were for simply having marijuana.
Similarly, Griner was arrested astatine the airdrome successful Moscow successful February and has been incarcerated ever since, contempt failed attempts from the White House to negociate her release.
Brittney Griner successful tribunal successful Khimki, adjacent Moscow, connected Thursday. The 31-year-old American jock has been sentenced to 9 years successful prison
Griner was held successful a compartment portion her ineligible squad sat astatine a array surrounding her. She had to trust connected an interpreter to relay what the justice said
Griner is led retired of the courtroom successful Khimki, Russia, carrying a book, a vessel of h2o and photos of her teammates that she presented to the justice earlier
Griner being led retired of the courtroom connected Thursday. Her attorneys person not yet indicated whether they volition entreaty the condemnation - oregon if that is adjacent a possibility
Griner's detention has been wide condemned passim the United States, and pursuing her sentencing connected Thursday, President Joe Biden denounced the condemnation and claimed she was 'wrongfully detained' - contempt her pleading guilty.
He said successful a statement: 'Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I telephone connected Russia to merchandise her instantly truthful she tin beryllium with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.'
Biden besides said helium would proceed to enactment 'tirelessly' to prosecute 'every imaginable avenue' to bring her and Paul Whelan - different American imprisoned successful Russia - home.
Charge d'Affaires of the US embassy successful Russia Elizabeth Rood besides called the condemnation a 'miscarriage of justice' while John Kirby, the US National Security Council Director for Strategic Communications, echoed Biden's comments.
President Biden instantly denounced the condemnation and claimed Russia had 'wrongfully' detained her
'This sentence, this proceedings conscionable reaffirms what we person been saying each along: Brittney has been wrongfully detained and she needs to beryllium instantly released by Russian authorities truthful she tin beryllium location with her wife, her teammates, and her friends and household and the President is going to enactment 100% committed to achieving that outcome,' helium said during an quality connected CNBC.
Terri Carmichael Jackson, WNBPA Executive Director, said successful a statement: 'Today's verdict and sentence, portion inevitable, is disappointing. The unjust determination contiguous is what it is, unjust. It is simply a unspeakable blow.'
But galore Americans deliberation Griner's incarceration is fair.
While a nine-year condemnation is harsh, they person repeatedly questioned wherefore she brought the drugs into Russia, knowing it was strictly illegal.
Among them is Donald Trump, who said: 'She went successful determination loaded up with drugs, into a hostile territory and they are precise vigilant with drugs.
'They don't similar drugs. And she got caught.
'And present we're expected to get her retired for an implicit killer? One of the biggest arms dealers successful the world. Killed galore people, galore Americans, and he's going to get a escaped paper and we're going to get her out.
'She knew... you don't spell successful determination loaded up with drugs. She admitted it. It surely doesn't look similar a precise bully trade.
'He is 1 of the worst successful the satellite and helium is going to beryllium fixed his state due to the fact that a perchance spoiled idiosyncratic goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.
Brittney Griner holds up a squad photograph showing her playing with UMMC Ekaterinburg, the Russian squad she spent off-seasons with to bolster her WNBA earnings
On Thursday, Griner sat successful the defendant's cage wrong the courtroom passim the proceedings, relying connected an interpreter to susurration to her everything the justice said.
Before the condemnation was handed down, she begged for leniency and asked the tribunal to instrumentality into information her bully character.
A justice accepted her plea - uncovering her blameworthy connected cause possession and smuggling.
They ruled that she committed the crimes purposefully - which she has denied.
She said she did not privation to beryllium considered a governmental pawn, and that bringing the cannabis pen into the state was a simple, 'honest mistake.'
'Russia became my 2nd home. I retrieve vividly coming retired of the gym and all the small girls coming retired and waiting connected me. That's what kept making maine travel backmost here.
'I privation to apologize to my teammates, my nine and the metropolis for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought.
'I privation to besides apologize to my parents, my siblings, Phoenix Mercury, the astonishing women of the WNBA and my astonishing spouse backmost astatine home.
'I ne'er meant to wounded anybody, I ne'er meant to enactment successful jeopardy the Russian population, I ne'er meant to interruption immoderate laws.
'I made an honorable mistake and I anticipation that your ruling doesn't extremity my life. I cognize everybody keeps talking astir governmental pawn and politics... but I anticipation that it's acold from this courtroom.
'I had nary intent connected breaking Russian law. I did not conspire oregon program to perpetrate this crime.
'I anticipation you tin instrumentality into relationship each the documents, the quality lists that person been sent successful connected my behalf.
'This is my 2nd home. All I wanted to bash was triumph championships and marque them proud,' she said.
Griner with her woman Cherelle, who has been begging for White House assistance for months
Griner was arrested astatine Moscow Airport successful February erstwhile customs officials recovered a cannabis pen successful her luggage. She has been incarcerated ever since
Part of the projected swap with Griner was for Paul Whelan to beryllium released too. He has been successful Russian jailhouse connected charges of espionage since 2018 (left). Mark Fogel, a teacher who was detained connected drugs charges past year, remains incarcerated and is not portion of the swap
During closing arguments, her attorneys pleaded for leniency.
'In sprinting determination is Usain Bolt, successful Formula 1 Michael Schumacher, and successful women's hoops determination is Brittney Griner,' her lawyer Maria Blagovolina said.
There was speculation Griner would beryllium freed arsenic portion of a captive swap successful speech for arms trader Viktor Bout, who was arrested successful the US successful 2010
Blagovolina, a spouse astatine Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners instrumentality firm, said that should the tribunal deem it indispensable to punish her, Griner should beryllium be treated leniently.
Griner's household accidental they person been frustrated with the White House's effect to the situation.
The State Department had been successful talks to unafraid Griner's merchandise arsenic portion of a woody that would besides bring imprisoned American Paul Whelan home.
The woody has been connected the array for weeks, but Russia is yet to agree.
US officials volition not corroborate reports that it includes freeing Viktor Boult, a Russian transgression known arsenic the 'merchant of death'.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday that Russia has made a 'bad faith' effect to the US government's offer, a counteroffer that American officials don't respect arsenic serious.
She declined to elaborate.
Griner has acknowledged determination were vape canisters containing cannabis lipid successful her luggage erstwhile she was arrested astatine a Moscow airport.
But she insisted that she had nary transgression intent and that the canisters ended up successful her luggage due to the fact that she was packing hastily.
'I inactive don't recognize however they ended up successful my bag,' she said.
Griner had been prescribed aesculapian marijuana successful the United States to relieve symptom from chronic injuries, a attraction method that is communal among elite athletes due to the fact that it has less broadside effects than immoderate painkillers.
She played for a Russian women's hoops squad successful the WNBA off-season.
As portion of the deal, the White House projected swapping Whelan and Griner, but not Mark Fogel - a teacher who was incarcerated successful Russia successful 2021 connected suspicion of cause smuggling.
His household has begged the Biden medication for help. Many person called for Griner's merchandise connected the ground that marijuana is ineligible successful the US.