A former sailor convicted of a felony and discharged from the U.S. Navy over photos he took of classified areas within a nuclear submarine received some good news this week in the form of a letter from the White House.
According to Fox News, Kristian Saucier was still under house arrest after serving a 1-year jail sentence when he found out this week that he had been pardoned by President Donald Trump.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the decision Friday during a media briefing.
“The president has pardoned Kristian Saucier, a Navy submariner,” she said, according to Politico. “Mr. Saucier was 22 years old at the time of his offenses and has served out his 12-month sentence.”
Pres. Trump pardons former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier imprisoned for taking photos on nuclear submarine. pic.twitter.com/3CMS0j41Md
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) March 9, 2018
Sanders went on to describe the pardoned ex-sailor as someone who “has been recognized by his fellow service members for his dedication, skill and patriotic spirit.”
The news came just days after the Department of Justice revealed its intention to re-examine the case against Saucier after the agency denied a request for a pardon submitted by his attorney last year.
“While we are sympathetic to his desire for clemency, we do not believe that Mr. Saucier’s circumstances in this regard are so unusual as to justify a waiver of the waiting period,” the previous Justice Department letter read, indicating it might be several years before the process could move forward.
“Waivers are infrequently granted and then only for particularly compelling reasons,” the letter continued. “It may ultimately be to Mr. Saucier’s benefit to wait the full five years to demonstrate that he has become fully rehabilitated and is a contributing member of society.”
Earlier this year, however, Saucier’s attorney cited the latest letter from the Justice Department along with apparent indicators from the Oval Office suggesting the pardon could be granted sooner than previously expected.
“I think the president is looking at this case real closely,” Ronald Daigle said. “He’s tweeted about it, he’s talked about it. I’m hoping he’ll decide in our favor. If Kris is lucky enough to get a pardon from President Trump, it would turn his life around.”
Trump has publicly commented on Saucier’s case, suggesting his conviction was the result of overzealous prosecutors.
“They took the kid who wanted some pictures of the submarine,” Trump said at an event during the 2016 presidential campaign. “That’s an old submarine; they’ve got plenty of pictures. If the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them.”
Saucier has expressed remorse for taking the photos, but insisted he never meant any harm and cited others who captured images of similar areas with no apparent repercussion.
His wife, Sadie, expressed overwhelming emotion on behalf of her husband’s newfound freedom.
“It hasn’t set in, honestly,” she said.
After getting the news, she recalled phoning Kristian Saucier to tell him that they can “be a normal family” again.
“He doesn’t have to wear an ankle bracelet anymore,” she said.
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