US special counsel Jack Smith, who brought criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for withholding classified government records, has earned a reputation for winning tough cases against war criminals, mobsters and dirty cops.
Appointed last November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to handle two Justice Department investigations involving Trump, Smith has now made history as the first federal prosecutor – though not the first – against a current or former US president. to present the charges.
Manhattan District Attorney Bragg in April indicted Trump on 34 counts of falsifying company records about secret money paid to a porn star for the 2016 US election.
When not competing in Ironman triathlon events, Smith works as a determined investigator who, according to his former colleagues, is open-minded and unafraid to get to the truth. They told him to be as persistent in his efforts to drop the charges of the innocent as he was in his efforts to convict the guilty.
“If the case can be prosecuted, it will,” said Mark Lesko, an attorney with the firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP, who worked with Smith when both were prosecutors in the New York District Attorney’s Office. “She’s fearless.”
This case is unlike any other Smith has been charged with. Trump served as president from 2017 to 2021 and now wants to return to the White House, leading a crowded field for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
One of two investigations conducted by Smith into Trump’s handling of classified documents held by him after he leaves the White House in January 2021. The second investigation focused on efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 US election, which Trump lost, including a conspiracy to file false ballots to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
The grand jury in Washington has been hearing witnesses from both investigations in recent months.
Trump’s own lawyer, Ivan Corcoran, emerged as a key witness in the documentary investigation. Corcoran was forced to testify before a jury in March after a federal judge ruled that his conversations with Trump were not protected by a legal doctrine called attorney-client privilege — which protects attorneys and their clients. Beach protects the confidentiality of certain communications — in case Trump’s comments were intended to incite offense.
The election interference investigation — which subpoenaed former Vice President Mike Pence and others in top positions in the Trump administration — is still ongoing.
seek innocence and guilt
A Harvard Law School graduate and not registered with any political party, Smith began his career in 1994 as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office under Robert Morgenthau, prosecuting mob bosses. were known for.
“Morgenthau’s real emphasis was simply on not going to trial,” said Todd Harrison, an attorney at the McDermott Will & Emery firm who worked with Smith in Morgenthau’s office and later as a federal prosecutor. .
Harrison said, “When we investigated something and showed that the target of the investigation was innocent, we were praised.”
In 1999, Smith began working at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Smith was involved in the prosecution of Charles Schwarz, one of the former New York City police officers involved in a high-profile case of police brutality involving Abner Louima, a black inmate who was attacked by police with a broom Was.
Smith also won a conviction for the murder of Ronell Wilson, a drug gang leader who killed two undercover officers of the New York City Police Department, although a federal appeals court overturned the death sentence.
In 2008, Smith left to oversee war crimes trials at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In 2010 he returned to the Ministry of Justice to lead the Public Integrity Section until 2015.
Most recently, Smith returned to war crimes cases in The Hague and the conviction of Salih Mustafa, a former Kosovo Liberation Army commander who had gone to a torture prison during the 1998–1999 independence conflict with Serbia.