Meet Jack Smith, the special counsel presently overseeing two distinct criminal inquiries involving former US President, Donald Trump. Boasting a career spanning over two decades, Mr. Smith, currently 54 years old, holds a wealth of experience prosecuting public officials both in the United States and abroad, with varying degrees of success.
Appointed as special counsel by the US Department of Justice, Jack Smith has chosen to maintain a low profile while handling the Trump cases. Last November, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced his selection, praising him as the ideal choice for handling these matters with fairness and urgency.
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump hasn’t held back from expressing his disapproval of Mr. Smith, labeling him as “deranged” and accusing him of leading a “political witch hunt” against him.
Recently, the special counsel indicted the former president on 40 felony counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents. Additionally, Mr. Smith is expected to bring separate charges against Trump concerning his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Hailing from New York, John Luman Smith, much like the man he is currently investigating, embarked on his prosecutorial journey in 1994 as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. Over the following decade, he steadily climbed the ranks in the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn, handling cases involving violent gangs, white-collar fraud, and public corruption.
During his tenure as a prosecutor, Smith once went to great lengths, spending a weekend sleeping in a hallway to persuade a woman to testify in a domestic violence case. He was also involved in investigating the notorious assault on Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by New York police, which played a pivotal role in his recommendation as special counsel in the Trump cases.
In 2008, Mr. Smith ventured overseas to The Hague in the Netherlands, where he served as a junior investigator for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. Two years later, he returned to the Justice Department and assumed the role of chief of the public integrity unit, responsible for prosecuting federal crimes such as public bribery and election fraud.
His tenure at the public integrity unit was not without its challenges, but he achieved notable victories, including securing prison sentences for former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi on corruption charges.
In 2015, Jack Smith accepted a position with the federal prosecutor’s office in Nashville, Tennessee, to be closer to his family. However, in 2017, he departed for a private healthcare company after being passed over for a permanent appointment under the Trump administration.
By 2018, he returned to The Hague, this time as the court’s chief prosecutor of war crime allegations in the 1990s Kosovo conflict.
When Mr. Garland offered him the position of special counsel in Washington, Mr. Smith was eager to return to the Justice Department. However, he was recovering from surgery to his left leg after a bicycle accident and did not return to the US until January 2021. This incident marked at least the second major injury he suffered while cycling, having previously fractured his pelvis in the 2000s after being struck by a truck.
As passionate about running as he is about cycling, Jack Smith has completed more than 100 triathlons since 2002 and has even represented Team USA in World Triathlon events.
Described as an “insane” triathlete and “one of the best trial lawyers” by his friend and former colleague, New York attorney Moe Fodeman, Mr. Smith’s fearless and proactive nature has earned him the respect of many. Despite Trump’s efforts to malign him, colleagues believe that Mr. Smith’s commitment to justice will prevail, and he will not be swayed by fear of losing a case.
In his own words, “If I were the sort of person who could be cowed… I would find another line of work. I can’t imagine how someone who does what I do or has worked with me could think that.”