Jack Smith is a seasoned prosecutor who has managed a number of high-profile cases over the course of a career spanning decades. He was appointed as the special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday to oversee the criminal investigations into the retention of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and portions of the January 6, 2021 uprising.
Smith’s experience includes bringing cases against gang members who were ultimately found guilty of killing New York City police officers as well as prosecuting a US senator who was still in office. Smith has recently brought war crimes cases to The Hague. He has been able to maintain a reasonably modest profile in the frequently brassy legal sector because to his career in numerous departments of the Justice Department and in international courts.
He will be able to avoid the kind of political backlash that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team encountered right away thanks to his expertise and background, at least initially. It also demonstrates his skill at handling complicated criminal cases involving public corruption and national security, as well as his experience making difficult choices that have political repercussions.
Smith is anticipated to be given the responsibility of deciding whether to bring charges against a former US president. The latest actions in the Mar-a-Lago and January 6 investigations, along with Garland’s comments on Friday, have indicated that Donald Trump is, at the very least, the subject of an investigation and may ultimately be charged with a crime.
“He has experience with high-profile cases. He is self-reliant. He won’t be swayed by anyone, Greg Andres, a former member of Mueller’s team, declared.
The depth of Smith’s expertise, according to Andres, who has known Smith since the late 1990s when they first began working at a US attorney’s office together and later rose to the position of co-chiefs of the office’s criminal division, will allow him to survive the public’s scrutiny.
“He will assess the available evidence and determine whether to press charges or not. He has the kind of experience to render those conclusions, Andres said.
He is aware of the courtroom. He is aware of how to conduct a trial. He continued, “He knows how to make a case. It will be crucial to know what kinds of evidence are needed to prove the case in court, particularly under these situations.
Following his announcement, Smith promised in a statement that he would carry out the inquiries “independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”
“Under my direction, the investigations’ speed won’t slow down or falter. I’ll use my own discretion, advance the inquiries quickly, and thoroughly pursue whatever conclusion the facts warrant.
Jack Smith Career Prosecutor
In 1994, Smith started his legal career with the New York County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney. According to the Justice Department, he served as an assistant US attorney in the Eastern District of New York in 1999, where he prosecuted cases including civil rights abuses and the murder of police officers by gangs.
One of Smith’s greatest and most prominent cases as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York, involved holding gang member Ronell Wilson accountable for the killing of two detectives from the New York City police department during a covert weapons operation in Staten Island. Although a judge ultimately determined Wilson was ineligible for the death penalty, he was convicted and given the death sentence in the first death penalty case in New York in 50 years.
He is a fantastic investigator and does not skip a beat. He digs deep to uncover the real information,” Fodeman remarked.
Smith is still pals with Fodeman, who described him as a triathlete and biker who is “truly mad.” Smith began working for the International Criminal Court in 2008 and managed war crimes inquiries for the prosecutor’s office for two years.
He assumed the position of chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in 2010, where he handled the prosecution of cases involving public corruption. In 2015, he was appointed first assistant US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Smith is regarded as a model public servant even though he is not well-known outside of Washington, DC’s legal community.
Smith brought in Brian Kidd, who remembered how his boss guided him through each step of a challenging racketeering case involving dishonest police officers.
He would not put up with a prosecution that was politically motivated, Kidd added. And he has a remarkable talent for inspiring those who work for him and for him. He is a great supporter of his group. With varying results, Smith handled some of the most prominent political corruption cases in recent memory.
According to a person familiar with the case, he was in meetings with the defense team and participated in decision-making leading up to the charges when former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was charged in 2014. He was also the head of the public integrity section at the time.
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