Jack Smith special counsel announced Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday to watch criminal retention investigations of secret documents in former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and parts of it of January 6, 2021 uprising, longtime prosecutor who supervised various of high-profile cases during a career that spans decades.
Smith experience ranges from prosecution of a sitting U.S. senator to prosecution against gang members who were eventually convicted of murders of New York police officers. In recent years, Smith has been investigating war crimes in The Hague. His career in several parts of Ministry of Justice, and in international courts, allowed him to remain relatively inconspicuous in the often brash legal industry.
His experience and will resume allow its at least in the first fly under type of a political response that quickly met former special counsel Robert Mueller team. it also shows he adept when managing the complex criminal cases related to both public corruption and national security – and what it has practice challenging decisions with political implications.
Smith is expected to be instructed with manufacturing policy decisions around whether to charge former the president of United States. Garland’s statements on Friday and last steps taken in investigations in Mar-a-Lago and January 6 showed that at least Donald Trump is under investigation and could potentially be charged with a crime.
“He knows how do big things. He is independent. No one will influence him,” said Greg Andres, former member of Muller team.
Andres, who has known Smith since the late 1990s, when they started working for a US law firm. office together and eventually became co-leaders of in offices criminal division said it’s breadth of Smith experience that will allow him to resist public careful consideration and hard judgment.
“He will evaluate the evidence and understand what type of case should be charged or not. He has a type of experience make such judgments,” Andres said.
“He understands the courtroom. He understands how try the thing. He knows how to prove business, he added. “Especially in these circumstances will critical to understand what types of proof required to prove a business in court.”
In a statement following his announcement, Smith promised to investigate “regardless and in in best traditions of department of Justice.”
” pace of investigations will not pause or a flag under my supervision. I will make independent judgments and will move investigations forward quickly and thoroughly to whatever result the facts and the law dictate,” Smith said.
One former colleague stressed that Smith harassed members of Both sides.
“He will be very aggressive,” the person said, adding that “everything is going to speed up”. Smith, they say, “acts very fast” and has unique ability quickly identify things that are important for the business and do not waste time on “hand-wringing” over things, which real interludes”.
Smith comes to court off how very down-to-earth and relative, the man said, describing it as good attribute to have as a prosecutor.
Smith also won’t care about politics surrounding the case, they said, adding that he had very thick skin and would “do what he was going to do”.
Smith began his career as an assistant district attorney. with New York County District Attorney’s Office in 1994. Worked in Eastern District of New York in 1999 as Assistant U.S. Attorney, where he investigated cases including civil rights violations and police gang killings, according to the Justice Department.
Like a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York one of Smith’s biggest and most high-profile case was the pursuit of gang member Ronell Wilson. for in murder of two undercover New York City Police Department detectives gun operation in Staten Island.
Wilson was convicted and sentenced to death, first death penalty case in New York at that time in 50 years, although the judge is later found he was unsuitable for in death penalty.
mo fodeman, who worked with Smith of EDNY called it “one of in best lawyers I’ve ever seen.”
“He is a phenomenal researcher; he leaves no stone unturned. He drills down get to true facts,” Fodeman said.
fodeman, who still friends with Smith has said that he is a “literally insane” cyclist and triathlete.
Start in 2008, Smith worked for International Criminal Court and oversaw war crimes investigations under the Office of prosecutor for two years.
In 2010 he became the head of Public Integrity Section of Department of Justice, where he oversaw the trial of public pre-appointment corruption cases first Assistant U.S. Attorney for Middle District of Tennessee in 2015.
Although he is little known in Washington, D.C., legal circles, Smith is described as consummate public servant.
About ten years ago he hired the waves of line prosecutors to the Public Integrity Section of Department of Justice overseeing dozens over his years in charging there.
Brian Kidd, whom Smith hired into the department, recalled how his boss took him through every step of a complicated racketeering case against corrupt cops.
“He was not going to tolerate a politically motivated prosecution,” Kidd said. “And he has incredible ability motivate people working with him and below him. He is incredibly supportive. of his team”.
Smith did some of the most notorious cases of political corruption in recent memory – to mixed results.
He was head of in public integrity division when then-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was indicted in 2014 and was in meetings with in defense team and participation in decision- production leading up to accusations, according to a person familiar with a business.
McDonnell was originally convicted of receiving gifts for political privileges, but then his sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Smith was also at the helm of device when the Department of Justice failed convict in court former Senator and Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards.
In recent years, while working in The Hague, he did not live in United States. He is no longer on american triathlon team but is still a competitive biker.
Smith took over as Acting U.S. Attorney when David Rivera left in in early 2017 before leaving the Justice Department later, which year and become vice president of litigation for hospital corporation of America. In 2018, he became Attorney General. for in special court in The Hague, where he investigated war crimes in Kosovo.
“Throughout his career, Jack Smith built a reputation as an impartial and decisive prosecutor, who leads teams with energy and focus on follow facts wherever they are lead”, Garland said during announcement on Friday. “Mr. Smith is the right choice complete these questions in impartially and persistently.
In May 2014, the House Oversight Committee interviewed Smith. behind closed doors as part of Republican investigation into alleged IRS attack of conservative groups. The then chairman of the oversight, Darrell Issa, launched an investigation after the 2013 inspector. general inform that found delays in treatment of applications of certain conservative groups and request information of them, which was later deemed unnecessary.
The Republicans requested evidence from Smith, who was the head of the Public Integrity Department at the time due to his involvement with organizing a meeting in 2010 between Justice Department officials and the then IRS official Lois Lerner, official in the center of tax scandal. The meeting was convened to discuss the “changing legal landscape”. of campaign Treasury law following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, according to a May 2014 letter written by Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican. who he is expected to become President of the Judicial Chamber next year.
“It is clear that the leadership of the Department, including Chief of Public Integrity Jack Smith, was directly involved in in attraction with IRS in wake up of Citizens United and political pressure from prominent Democrats to eliminate alleged problems with in decisionIssa and Jordan wrote. in a letter asking Smith to testify.
Smith testified that office “It was dialogue” with FBI about launching investigations related to political active non-profit organizations after the meeting with Lerner, but ultimately did not., by copy of his interview obtained by CNN.
Smith explained what he asked for meeting with IRS because he wanted to study more about the legal landscape of political non-profit organizations following Citizens United decision because he was relatively new to public integrity section. He said Lerner explained that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to file a case. on abuse of tax free status.
Smith repeated after a few points in interview that the Department of Justice did not conduct any investigations due to politics.
“I want to be clear – it would be more about looking at issue looking at something made no point in starting an investigation,” he said. “If we did this, you know, how would you go for it? Is there a predicate, a basis for opening an investigation? Things like what. I can’t tell since I’m sitting here right now specifically you know, back-and forward of this is a discussion. I can just tell you this – because I know one of you are concerned that organizations have been targeted. And I can tell you that we, Public Integrity, have not opened any investigations as result of these discussions and that we, of course, as you know, did not initiate a single case as result of what.”
Smith also showed he didn’t know of anyone in the Ministry of Justice puts pressure on IRS – and that it has never been pressured into investigating any political groups.
“No. And maybe I can stop you guys. I know there is series of these questions. I have never been asked about it, and no one who knows that I would never even think about asking me to do something like that,” Smith said.
This story was updated with additional details.