Area sailor who snapped photos of submarine just second person pardoned by President Trump
March 16, 2018 06:41 PM
ARLINGTON, VT - In 2009, Kristian Saucier was a 22-year-old Petty Officer assigned to the U.S.S. Alexandria. He used his flip phone to take some photos of the inside of the old submarine.
"I took some pictures so I could look back later on in life and say wow, this is pretty awesome, this is what I did," Saucier said during an interview at his home, just a couple miles east of the New York border.
Saucier knew what he did was wrong, while pointing out that nearly all the sailors did it. He had no idea how much he'd regret it years later.
Saucier says when he got a new phone, he threw the old one in a box in storage and didn't think anything of it.
In 2012, just after going through a divorce and moving to Saratoga County to work as a nuclear instructor, Saucier got a visit from the FBI. It seems his ex-wife took the phone to the dump and somehow the feds were tipped that someone found the phone and among hundreds of photos on it, there were six taken inside the sub.
Saucier was not a spy and never planned to share the photos of the now decommissioned sub, but he still decided to plead guilty.
He served a year in federal prison, followed by six months house arrest.
All the while, he was seeking a pardon and spending a lot of money on legal fees to try to get it done.
He got help from retired Granville Attorney Ron Daigle, whose wife heard about Saucier's plight on network news. Daigle worked tirelessly to tell the feds that Saucier had been wronged.
Finally, last Friday, Saucier's wife called him while he was at work driving a garbage truck to tell him President Trump pardoned him. He didn't believe her.
"Then she sent me back a picture of the signed pardon and it was pretty awesome."
Saucier lost a year of his life and a couple hundred thousand dollars in attorney fees, but not a dime to Daigle who was more than happy to help him pro-bono and grateful for the pardon.
"It certainly restores my hope in justice that the system does work in these cases," Daigle said.
Saucier regains the rights of a citizen who has never been convicted of a felony, including the right to vote or run for office.
Daigle is now working to restore the benefits Saucier lost when he was discharged from the Navy.
"I regret making a young childish mistake as a young military member and it's unfortunate that it's cost so much."
Created: March 16, 2018 06:41 PM
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