A former U.S. Navy seaman who spent a year in federal prison for photographing a classified area of a nuclear submarine plans to sue former President Barack Obama and fired FBI director James Comey for selectively prosecuting him.
Donald Trump issued a presidential pardon this year to Kristian Saucier, whose lawyer Ronald Daigle told Fox News on Monday that the pending lawsuit will also name the Justice Department as a defendant.
Daigle says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given a free pass by avoiding prosecution for mishandling classified information on her infamous private email server.
Saucier, 31, believes Comey and Obama should be held responsible for treating him unequally.
‘They interpreted the law in my case to say it was criminal,’ he told Fox, ‘but they didn’t prosecute Hillary Clinton. Hillary is still walking free.’
‘Two guys on my ship did the same thing and weren’t treated as criminals. We want them to correct the wrong.’
Daigle told Fox News that his legal strategy includes drawing attention to ‘the differences in the way Hillary Clinton was prosecuted and how my client was prosecuted.’
‘There’s a two-tier justice system and we want it to be corrected,’ he said.
Saucier admitted in 2016 that he had taken photos inside the USS Alexandria while it was docked in Connecticut seven years earlier.
He said he wanted to show his family where he worked, but now acknowledges he was wrong to take the pictures.
Federal prosecutors persuaded him to plead guilty by threatening to paint him as a resentful serviceman who risked the security of the United States and then destroyed a camera and a computer to hide the evidence.
But Saucier believes prosecuting him was a politically motivated decision driven by the Obama Justice Department’s desire to appear tough on the kinds of crime it was sweeping under the rug when Clinton was their investigative target.
‘They used me as an example because of Hillary Clinton,’ he said Monday.
Saucier’s pardon drew eyeballs to his post-incarceration plight: He said the only job he could get after his release from prison was as a garbage man.
Trump often mentioned Saucier’s case during the presidential campaign as he clobbered his rival Clinton for using an unsecured home-brew email server to handle sensitive information while she was America’s top diplomat.
‘They took the kid who wanted some pictures of the submarine,’ he told a crowd just days before his November 2016 election. ‘That’s an old submarine! They’ve got plenty of pictures, if the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them.’
‘He wanted to take a couple of pictures. They put him in jail for a year.’
‘We’ve never been in a situation like this,’ Trump added, before pivoting to bash his Democratic opponent: ‘And then she’s allowed to run for president!’
Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, was a 22-year-old machinist’s mate on the nuclear-powered attack submarine when he took the photos.
His lawyers said he knew the photos would be classified but he wanted to show his family what he did in the Navy. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.
Clinton’s case was the subject of bipartisan acrimony. Comey, then the nation’s top cop, announced in July 2016 that his agency had wrapped up its probe of the classified material on her private server and determined that it would be improper to prosecute her.
Republican cried foul, but later cheered Comey when he told Congress just days before the election that a new cache of emails had been located – necessitating a reboot of the investigation.
That step came after DailyMail.com reported on the existence of a laptop that had belonged to the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose wife Huma Abedin had been Clinton’s deputy campaign chairwoman.
Clinton and her attorneys deleted more than 33,000 emails from her server before handing it over to law enforcement agents. Those messages were never recovered.
But some of the material that was forwarded to Weiner was also classified.
‘Somehow,’ Comey testified last year in a Senate hearing, ‘her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information, by her assistant Huma Abedin.’