Who is Jack Smith, the special counsel in charge of the Trump investigation?
Investigations into Trump’s handling of classified documents and role in the January 6 attack will now be led by an independent lawyer.
US Atorney General Merrick Garland has announced that an independent lawyer has been appointed to serve as a special counsel on the Justice Department’s criminal investigations into former President Donald Trump.
The investigations, into Trump’s handling of classified documents and role in the January 6 attack on Congress, will be overseen by Jack Smith.
A former prosecutor of war crimes at The Hague, Smith will now be the final judge as to whether Trump will face criminal charges in relation to either investigation.
“In certain extraordinary cases it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution,” Garland said, upon announcing Smith as the special counsel.
“Due to recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate in the next election, and the sitting president’s intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest.”
Who is Jack Smith?
Smith has gained experience in prosecuting a number of extremely high profile cases in the United States over a decades-long career. He has served as chief of public integrity for the Justice Department, bringing cases against both Republicans and Democrats in that role.
He is a registered independent with no ties to either party so he can bring a non-partisan viewpoint to the investigations.
His career as a prosecutor begin in New York in the 1990s while serving in the office of the Manhattan district attorney. He worked his way up to become a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, focusing on cases of public corruption.
He prosecuted instances of civil right violations and brought charges against gang members for the murder of several police officers in the city. He has also prosecuted a sitting US Senator, Democrat Sen. John Edwards.
Since 2018 Smith has been chief prosecutor at the international criminal court in The Hague. He has looked into allegations that war crimes were perpetrated in the Balkans, amongst other high-profile cases.
In a statement released after he was appointed special counsel, Smith wrote: “I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result 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.”