Sadie Saucier's heart skipped a beat Thursday night when President Trump mentioned her husband's plight in an exclusive TV interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
Trump was asked if he might consider a pardon for Kristian Saucier, the former Navy sailor serving a one-year prison prison term for taking photos inside a nuclear submarine. Trump, who spoke of Saucier's treatment during his campaign, called the sentence harsh and said he is giving consideration to a request for a pardon and clemency.
“I’m actually looking at it right now,” Trump told Hannity. “I think it’s very unfair in light of what’s happened with other people.”
Sadie Saucier, who Friday morning was preparing to visit her husband at the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens, Mass., where he has been held since October, said the words gave her hope.
“Oh my God, I’m hoping it’s for real,” Sadie Saucier told Fox News Friday morning as she was preparing to visit her husband at the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens, Mass., where he has been held since October. “I’m confident in Trump.”
She said she was eager to relay Trump's comments to her husband.
“I’m hoping that this will give him hope, something to hang onto,” she said. “When you’re sitting in prison, it’s hard to get his hopes up.”
Saucier said their 2-year-old daughter, Kassy, misses her father.
“She says ‘Dada,’ and goes to the door, when she knows we’re going to go see him. She runs around the house sometimes saying ‘Dada.’”
Jeffrey Addicott, a former Army attorney and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St Mary's Law School in Texas, said that Saucier’s prosecution was politically motivated.
Addicott said that Saucier admitted making a mistake when he took the photos, but he said that such actions are rarely so severely punished.
With a national focus on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information on a personal email server while she was secretary of state, and criticism over how the Department of Justice and the FBI were addressing her actions, Addicott said, there was pressure on authorities to be particularly aggressive.
“The Department of Justice was being criticized,” said Addicott, who submitted the petitions for Saucier’s pardon and clemency. “Two other sailors who did the same thing just had to pay about $300 fines and didn’t go to jail.”
Unlike the other sailors, he said, Saucier’s case came up in court amid debates about Clinton’s classified emails, prompting prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut to make the 30-year-old sailor a scapegoat, Addicott asserted.
Saucier, who served as a machinist's mate aboard the USS Alexandria from 2007 to 2012, used his cellphone to photograph parts of the submarine's nuclear propulsion system while it was docked at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Conn., according to published reports.
Saucier began his 12-month sentence in October. He was convicted of unauthorized retention of national defense information, which is a felony, and received an "other-than-honorable" discharge from the Navy. He faced a possible 10 years in jail, his lawyers said.
Even before the pardon request, Trump had referred to Saucier’s punishment as overkill during his presidential campaign.
“They took the kid who wanted some pictures of the submarine,” Trump said in a campaign stop, according to The Washington Post. “That’s an old submarine; they’ve got plenty of pictures. If the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them.”
Saucier’s mother, Kathleen Saucier -- who along with another attorney, Ronald Daigle, met with then-national security adviser nominee retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in November – said she is cautiously optimistic.
Saucier has been a relentless advocate for her son since he was first charged.
“Everyone should be treated fairly and equally, that was not the case,” she said, “and that was not the case for many others [in the military].”
“I’m hopeful that it’s being reviewed, it’s a clear in justice,” she said. “We’re not just focused on my son, but on others who are sitting in prison without a voice, because of the possible overreach of our government.”