By Julian Hattem - 08-15-16 08:45 AM EDT
A Navy sailor who has pleaded guilty to espionage charges for photographing classified areas of a nuclear submarine is citing Hillary Clinton's email setup in an effort to avoid jail time.
Lawyers for 29-year-old Kristian Saucier told a federal court in Connecticut on Friday that the Justice Department's decision not to press charges against Clinton, despite the existence of classified material on more than 100 messages on her server, was one of several cases that should compel a reduced sentence.
"Most recently, Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton ... has come under scrutiny for engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier," his legal team claimed.
The FBI has criticized Clinton's private setup, attorney Derrick Hogan noted, "however, the FBI recently recommended Mrs. Clinton not be brought up on any charges as she lacked 'intent.'"
Saucier pleaded guilty to possessing just six sensitive photographs, Hogan added, "far less than Clinton's 110 emails."
"Further, Mr. Saucier pled guilty to [a legal prohibition] which does not require intent.
"Wherefore, it will be unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid."
Clinton's case is listed as just one of several in which officials were either not charged or given relatively light sentences for their crimes. Circumstances surrounding the former secretary of State were also different than those for Saucier, who acknowledged that he was aware that the pictures he took were classified. Clinton has maintained that she did not believe any of the information she receive via email ought to have been protected.
But the citation is likely to inflame critics of the Democratic presidential nominee, who they warn exposed a two-tiered process of justice after federal prosecutors announced they would not indict her or her senior aides.
"We believe that you have set a precedent, and it is a dangerous one," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) scolded FBI Director James Comey during a hearing in July.
Before a federal court in May, Saucier admitted he took cellphone photos of sensitive portions of a submarine in 2009. The photos were not discovered until his cellphone was found in a dumpster three years later.
He is set to be sentenced on Friday.
Federal sentencing guidelines suggest he be put in prison for up to 6.5 years, but Saucier's attorneys are claiming he should instead be given probation.
"Mr. Saucier has new responsibilities as a father, husband and grandfather, and has grown out of the mistakes he made in his early twenties," his legal team claimed on Friday. "Therefore, at 29 years old, any sentence of confinement will be greater than necessary.
Details of the filing were previously reported by Politico.