President Donald Trump is reviewing the case of a Navy sailor who was convicted of taking photos of classified areas of the submarine USS Alexandria after unsuccessfully attempting to use the “Hillary defense.”
National security adviser Michael Flynn encouraged the lawyer for sailor Kristian Saucier to ask for a pardon and Trump has since stated he is looking into the matter, The Associated Press reports.
Saucier was sentenced to a year in prison last August for taking photos of classified systems on board the USS Alexandria in 2009, when he served as a 22-year-old machinist mate. He reportedly took the photos of the propulsion system and reactor compartment to show his family, but ended up destroying his laptop and camera after being questioned by the FBI. Authorities were unable to confirm his claim that he did not share photos with unauthorized people.
His defense team pointed to Hillary Clinton’s classified email case as precedent, since Clinton managed to evade prosecution after the FBI said there was no evidence to suggest she intentionally misused classified info as part of her private email server setup.
“The Justice Department at that time was under pressure to do something,” Saucier’s attorney Ronald Daigle Jr. said. “So he got prosecuted for it. I don’t think it’s fair because she didn’t get prosecuted for anything.”
But the comparison immediately fell flat, and prosecutors bashed the very idea of it, saying that the defense team was “grasping at highly imaginative and speculative straws in trying to further draw a comparison to the matter of Secretary Hillary Clinton based upon virtually no understanding and knowledge of the facts involved, the information at issue, not to mention any issues of intent and knowledge.”
The judge over the case also criticized Saucier’s lawyer for bringing up the defense at the time of sentencing.
But after Trump was elected, Daigle visited Trump Tower and spoke with Flynn, who told him he should ask for a pardon.
“He is very thankful and grateful that it seems like the president and White House are actually listening and maybe going to take a look at the case,” Daigle said, speaking of Saucier. “So his hopes are up.”
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