U.S. President Donald Trump has pardoned a former Navy sailor who served a year in prison for taking photographs of classified areas of a submarine.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that Trump is “appreciative” of the service Navy sailor Kristian Saucier has given to the country.
Sanders said Saucier’s service in the military was otherwise commendable and that he had been recognized by service members “for his dedication, skill and patriotic spirit.”
Saucier pleaded guilty in 2016 to taking photographs inside classified areas of the USS Alexandria in 2009.
Saucier had argued during his trial that he merely wanted mementos of his service on the submarine. However, prosecutors accused him of being a disgruntled sailor who compromised national security. Prosecutors also said Saucier destroyed evidence after he was questioned.
Trump had referenced Saucier’s case while he was campaigning for president as a way to criticize Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Trump argued that Clinton should have been prosecuted for her actions, because people who committed lesser crimes, like Saucier, were prosecuted.
Saucier’s lawyers even invoked Clinton in their court arguments, saying that Saucier deserved to be held to the same standard as the former secretary of state.
The FBI declined to charge Clinton in 2016 after an investigation into her use of a private email server. Then-FBI Director James Comey said she had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified documents, but said no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against her.