What We Know About Jack Smith, Special Counsel Appointed in Trump Probes

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Jack Smith, who on Nov. 18 was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to be special counsel in two probes involving former president Donald Trump, is a veteran prosecutor with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Most recently, Smith was the chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague responsible for investigating and adjudicating war crimes in Kosovo. Prior to the Hague, he was the vice president of litigation at HCA Healthcare, one of the largest health providers in the United States.

In a statement following Garland’s announcement, Smith said he intends to conduct the investigations and any prosecutions that may arise from them “independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”

“The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. I will exercise independent judgement and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate,” Smith said.

Smith graduated from Harvard law school in 1994, and from there started his prosecutorial career as an assistant district attorney at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. From 1999, he served as assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York for nine years, a position which included leading the criminal litigation unit prosecuting cases involving public corruption, violent crime and gangs, and white collar and complex financial fraud, according to the DOJ.

From 2008 to 2010, he worked at the Office of the Prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, where he conducted investigations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

In 2010, he returned to the DOJ to serve for five years as the chief of the Public Integrity Section in Washington overseeing prosecutions of public corrections cases across the United States, according to the department. During this time his unit secured bribery and extortion convictions of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and Arizona U.S. Representative Rick Renzi.

Smith in 2015 was appointed first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee before becoming the acting U.S. attorney in 2017.

By Cathy He

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