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A Russian judge sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison on Thursday for smuggling several vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into Russia on February 17.

Judge Anna Sotnikova reduced Griner's 9.5 year sentence by 6 months for time already served.

The judge also ordered Griner to pay 1 million rubles ($16,700 USD) for intentionally breaking Russian law.

Griner stared blankly at the judge when her sentence was translated into English by an interpreter.

The Phoenix Mercury center told the judge she understood she had the right to appeal her conviction.

Rappers 50 Cent, Boosie Badazz, Meek Mill and others reacted to Griner's harsh sentence on social media.

Pop singer Justin Bieber also responded to her conviction and sentencing by offering to help free her.

The Grammy Award winner took to Instagram and asked his followers for suggestions to help him free Griner.

He shared an image of Griner on her way to court. "This hurts. If anyone knows of anyway I can help please let me know," he wrote.

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Griner, who has been detained since her arrest at a Moscow airport, pled guilty on July 7 to accelerate her drug trial.

The Biden administration had offered to swap convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan who was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying for the US.

Sources say Griner knew that any prisoner swap could not occur until her trial was completed. Griner's drug trial, which began in June, was expected to last 6 months under Russian law.

Viktor Bout was convicted in New York of conspiracy to kill Americans in 2012 and sentenced to serve 12 years.

But Russian officials did not express interest in a prisoner exchange for Bout.

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A Russian judge sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison on Thursday. Griner pleaded guilty last month to smuggling cannabis oil in vape pens into Russia.

Griner's attorneys asked for leniency, but the judge agreed with the prosecution's recommendation for a sentence of 9.5 years.

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Judge Anna Sotnikova reduced the sentence by 6 months for time served, since Griner has been in custody since her arrest in February.

Griner stared blankly at the judge when her sentence was translated into English.

Griner, 31, previously said she was rushing to pack and didn't realize the vape pens were in her luggage.

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The Biden administration has not responded to Griner's quick sentencing. Her trial, which began in June, was expected to last 6 months.

The Biden administration had offered to swap Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan who was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying for the US.

But former President Donald Trump objected to the prisoner swap. Trump called Griner "spoiled", and he said she should remain in Russia if a prisoner exchange meant endangering American lives.

Griner will be transferred from the detention center to a woman's prison to begin serving her sentence.

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Former "Cheer" star Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for soliciting explicit images from minors.

Harris, 22, was indicted on seven counts of receiving explicit images of children and persuading minors to engage in sexual contact.

In February he pleaded guilty to one count of traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of receiving child pornography, a U.S. attorney's office spokesman said.

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CBS 2

Prosecutors say Harris persuaded a 17-year-old boy to send him explicit images in exchange for money. Harris also plead guilty to taking a trip to Florida for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a 15-year-old boy.

A judge sentenced Harris to 12 years in prison, followed by 8 years of court-supervised release, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, confirmed to NBC News.

Harris had faced a sentence ranging from five to 20 years on the child pornography charge and a maximum sentence of 30 years on the second federal charge.

Harris was a breakout star on Netflix's "Cheer." As an openly gay Black male in Hollywood, Harris was praised by such bold names as Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Gabrielle Union and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others.
 

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A Los Angeles jury found reputed gang member Eric Holder Jr. guilty of first-degree murder for the 2019 fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle.

Holder, 32, was convicted on Wednesday, July 6, for the March 31st murder of Hussle outside a clothing store he owned in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Holder showed no reaction after the jury announced the guilty verdict.

Hussle, a rapper who was beloved for his benevolence, was shot 11 times and pronounced dead at a local hospital. Two other men were shot but survived their injuries.

A woman who unwittingly drove the getaway car turned herself in two days later and identified Holder as the shooter. He was arrested at a mental hospital in nearby Bellflower.

Holder and Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom, were both members of the notorious Rollin 60s street gang. Witnesses testified that Hussle had warned Holder there was "paperwork" on him — an implication that he was a police informant.

Prosecutors say Holder became enraged and gunned Hussle down in front of witnesses.

Holder's attorney said a gang member of Hussle's status calling him a snitch in front of other gang members left his client so "triggered" that he wasn't thinking clearly when he shot the rapper.

"This was not just a pleasant conversation between homies who are chopping it up ... this was a serious accusation," Jansen said during closing arguments. "Mr. Holder Jr. took it serious, as it was. He knows the consequences of being called a snitch in this manner."

Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. John McKinney dismissed Jansen's argument as "ridiculous".

Holder wore a black mask in court that concealed facial injuries he suffered during a jailhouse beat down last week.

A photo of Holder's swollen face went viral on social media.

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Ghislaine Maxwell apologized in open court before she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking and grooming girls with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell was sentenced in a NY courtroom on Tuesday, June 28.

She was found guilty in December 2021 of conspiring to abuse and traffic girls with her ex-boyfriend, Epstein, who took his own life in a NYC jail cell in 2019.

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The 66-year-old British socialite insisted she was "fooled" by Epstein, whose client list included former President Donald Trump and Britain's Prince Andrew (below).

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"Your honor, it is hard for me to address the court after listening to the pain and anguish expressed today," she told the judge on Tuesday.

"The terrible impact on the lives of so many women is difficult to hear and even more difficult to absorb in its scale and extent... I want to acknowledge their suffering. I empathize deeply with all of the victims in this case."

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Prior to her sentencing, Maxwell was advised that her prison term would be shortened significantly if she cooperated fully with the FBI (and named names).

One of her victims, Annie Farmer, told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that she was 16-years-old when she met Epstein and Maxwell, and Epstein began groping her.

She said Maxwell's presence made her think she'd be safe around Epstein.

Other victims said Maxwell's sentencing provides closure for them.

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An American teacher who taught English at a university in China was sentenced to death on Thursday for the "revenge killing" of his 21-year-old girlfriend.

Shadeed Abdulmateen, 52, lied to his girlfriend about being divorced, according to DailyMail.com.

A Chinese court found Abdulmateen guilty of "premeditated revenge killing" and intentional homicide.

The victim, known only as Chen, was a teenager when she met Abdulmateen, a professor from California who taught English at Ningbo University of Technology.

Chen tried multiple times to break off their relationship in May 2021, but she agreed to meet with him at a bus stop in Ningbo around 8 p.m. on June 14, 2021.

About two hours later, Chen's mutilated body was found near the bus stop. She had been stabbed in the neck and face with a folding knife and was pronounced dead.

Locals expressed anger and outrage when the police were slow to charge Abdulmateen because he was a foreigner.

Hu Xijin, a former newspaper editor in China, said foreigners shouldn't use their US citizenship like a "protective umbrella for them to escape punishment," the South China Morning Post reported.

Unlike the US, China carries out thousands of executions per year.

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Cobb Sheriff

A Georgia man will spend the next 20 years in prison for setting fire to a woman's home after she rejected his advances.

Jerel Jay Wilson, 29, of Union City, was found guilty Monday of arson in the first-degree, arson in the second=degree, and simple battery.

Prosecutors say Wilson broke into a woman's apartment on September 11, 2018, set fire to her bedroom and physically attacked her for reacting his advances.

Several weeks later, he attacked her again in a hotel parking lot and set fire to her car.

Assistant District Attorney Jared Horowitz said Wilson's "jealousy and rejection left a path of destruction."

Horowitz said the victim was "tormented by this defendant," and he thanked the jury for their "service during a pandemic and for delivering justice to this woman."

He added: "This verdict sends a message that this kind of dangerous behavior will not be tolerated in Cobb County."

Wilson will receive counseling behind bars to help him resolve his poor impulse control and anger issues before being released back into society.

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Britain's most prolific rapist was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison on Monday. Reynhard Sinaga, described as "Britain's most prolific rapist," was convicted of 136 rapes.

Sinaga, 36, is already serving 88 concurrent life sentences with a minimum of 20 years before he can be considered for parole.

He was sentenced on Monday in trials three and four, where he was convicted of an additional 23 counts of rape.

Police say Sinaga lured hundreds of men to his apartment in Manchester, England between 2015 and 2017.

Sinaga is accused of abusing at least 195 men by luring them to his apartment and drugging their drinks. He then attacked the men after they passed out.

Sinaga earned four degrees and was working on his PhD at Leeds University when he was arrested.

He was described as a bookish, Peter Pan-like figure who lived a short walk from the Factory, one of England's biggest LGBT clubs.

Sinaga was arrested after one victim escaped his apartment where he had been sexually assaulted. The victim accidentally took Sinaga's cell phone which was filled with graphic videos of Sinaga raping his victims.

The 18-year-old victim met Sinaga at the Factory one night in June 2017. Sinaga lured him back to his apartment "to get out of the cold."

The victim testified how he was given two shots of a red liquid and another two shots of what looked like a clear liqueur.

The victim recalls he "blacked out" and could remember nothing until he woke up the next morning.

The victim said he felt groggy and confused. The 6-foot rugby player easily overpowered the five-foot-seven Sinaga. He said Sinaga bit him several times during the struggle and pulled him back as he tried to leave.

After escaping Sinaga's apartment, the victim realized he had Sinaga's iPhone 4 in his jeans and he turned it over to police.

Sinaga initially refused police requests to unlock the phone, and began behaving strangely. When he did unlock the phone, police discovered the graphic videos.

Police executed a search of Sinaga's apartment and found another iPhone and more devices with videos on them.

Many of the victims did not report Sinaga to police because they didn't realize they had been raped until police found their videos on Sinaga's cell phone. One of his victims even "friended" him on Facebook.

Police said, if Sinaga hadn't recorded himself committing the vile acts, "nobody might ever have found out."