WASHINGTON - In declining to seek prosecution of Hillary Clinton, FBI Director James Comey said the former Secretary of State's handling of classified emails was "extremely careless" - conduct, legal experts said, that falls short of "gross negligence," a standard for criminal charges under the Espionage Act.
"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," Comey said in a news conference Tuesday detailing the FBI investigation and his decision.
Several legal experts agreed with Comey's conclusion that there was no recent precedent for bringing such a case without evidence of willful intent or gross negligence, and they said it would have been difficult to convince a jury to convict Clinton based on the evidence.
"Extreme carelessness doesn't necessarily translate into gross negligence," said Laurie Levenson, a professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and former federal prosecutor.
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