A former sailor sentenced to one year in jail for mishandling classified information hopes President-elect Donald Trump will pardon him for his crime.
Kristian Saucier of Arlington, Vermont was sentenced to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine despite his pleas that it was similar to how Hillary Clinton used a private server to send classified emails.
Saucier appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut in August where a judge also ordered him to serve six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison time.
He pleaded guilty in May to unauthorized detention of defense information and had faced five to six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
Kristian Saucier of Arlington, Vermont was sentenced to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine despite his pleas that it was similar to how Hillary Clinton used a private server to send classified emails
Kristian Saucier, above, was a 22-year-old sailor on the USS Alexandria when he took photos of classified areas in the sub, he said to show them to his kids one day
He also did not cooperate with the investigation into his misconduct – destroying a laptop and an SD card following an interview with the FBI.
He wrote in a petition filed to the White House on Monday: ‘While my conduct in taking the six photos was admittedly wrong and without excuse, the Department of Justice’s heavy-handed response to my misconduct was certainly a product of the scrutiny brought about by a fervent political climate and not by the gravity of my misconduct.’
‘Indeed, if not for the high level of the Clinton misconduct and the lengthy presidential campaign process, there can be no doubt that my far less egregious acts of taking six photos of my work station would have otherwise been received with a significantly lower form of punishment.’
Saucier wrote: ‘While my conduct in taking the six photos was admittedly wrong and without excuse, the Department of Justice’s heavy-handed response to my misconduct was certainly a product of the scrutiny brought about by a fervent political climate’
Saucier felt his punishment was heavy-handed due to how he felt Hillary Clinton was treated over her use of a private email server. He hopes Donald Trump will pardon him.
Saucier was prosecuted more aggressively than other sailors caught doing the same thing, perhaps because he destroyed the evidence
Saucier’s attorney Jeffrey Addicott told the Navy Times that he hopes Trump will be sympathetic to his client’s case.
He said: ‘The reason this case cries out for clemency and pardon is just the gross injustice.
‘This is a matter of justice and justice isn’t just about whether you are guilty or not — he’s admitted that.
‘It’s about the punishment as well.’
The pictures were taken aboard the USS Alexandria, showing the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment
Saucier admitted to taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when it was in Groton and he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine.
The photos showed the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment, prosecutors said.
Kristian Saucier’s attorneys tried working a Hillary Clinton angle, arguing that the Democratic presidential nominee had been ‘engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier’ with information of much higher classification, according to US News.
The filing said it would be ‘unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid,’ attorney Derrick Hogan wrote, according to the outlet.
Prosecutors said ‘Saucier methodically documented the entire propulsion system of the nuclear submarine, including the design of the nuclear compartment and nuclear reactor’
Saucier took the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said.
He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.
‘It was a foolish mistake by a very young man,’ his lawyer, Greg Rinckey, said after the sentencing. ‘It’s a very sad case because Kristian Saucier is a fine young man. We don’t believe this was really his true character.’
Saucier is expected to receive an ‘other than honorable’ discharge from the Navy next month, Rinckey said. He is to report to prison on October 12.
Saucier was serving on board the USS Alexandria, right, when he took the images
Saucier was sentenced to one year in prison and a $100 fine, along with six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service and a ban on owning guns, his legal team says.
Calling for a significant sentence, prosecutors said: ‘During the course of the investigation, at no time did the defendant admit or take responsibility for his conduct and did not truthfully disclose the salient facts, or engage in a meaningful debriefing of his conduct.’
Early in the investigation, Saucier claimed his ex-wife ‘could have had one of his shipmates take the photographs, given the LG phone to Band, and had Brandt turn in the LG phone to NCIS in order to get him into trouble’.
Saucier took the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said
Saucier was sentenced to one year in prison – his lawyers wanted probation
According to court documents: ‘Saucier methodically documented the entire propulsion system of the nuclear submarine, including the design of its nuclear compartment and its nuclear reactor.
‘Moreover, the defendant is grasping at highly imaginative and speculative straws in trying to further draw a comparison to the matter of Secretary Hillary Clinton based on virtually no understanding and knowledge of the facts involved, the information at issue, not to mention any issues of intent and knowledge.’
Despite the seemingly harsh sentence, Rinckey said ‘We’re very pleased.’
But he added, comparing the outcome to that of Clinton’s, ‘It could be argued here that depending on what your name is, that’s the type of justice you get in the United States.’
A former sailor who worked with Saucier, Gene Pitcher, told Politico, ‘I just don’t think it’s fair. In reality, what [Clinton] did is so much worse than what Kris did. … I think it’s just a blatant double standard.’
Experts have said that Saucier was prosecuted more aggressively than he would have been if he hadn’t destroyed evidence, including a laptop, camera and memory card
He added that he had seen other sailors get in trouble for taking photos, but that they usually just lost pay or rank, and Saucier is the only one he’s seen prosecuted.
‘Felony charges appear to be reserved for people of the lowest ranks. Everyone else who does it either doesn’t get charged or gets charged with a misdemeanor,’ Edward MacMahon, a Virginia defense attorney not involved in the Saucier case, told Politico.
A big difference in the two cases, experts point out, is that Clinton’s material was not marked classified when she sent it, whereas Saucier admitted he knew the places he photographed were classified, said the outlet.
Part of the reason Saucier may have been treated so aggressively is the way he handled being found out – initially denying he’d taken any pictures, and then destroying his laptop computer, a camera and a memory card after an interview with the FBI in 2012.
The investigation began in 2012 when a waste station supervisor in Hampton, Connecticut, found Saucier’s cellphone with the submarine photos on top of a pile of demolition trash and showed it to his friend, who was a retired Navy chief and brought the phone to the NCIS, according to court documents.