Appointed this past Friday as special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland, Jack Smith previously held the role in the administration of former President Barack Obama as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice and held a role within the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Garland appointed Smith to be the special counsel in charge of taking over a pair of DOJ investigations looking into former President Donald Trump, including various bits of the investigation into the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, along with the investigation into the documents taken from inside of Trump’s residence out in Mar-a-Lago. The move by Garland comes to light just a scant few days in the wake of Trump’s choosing the announce his bid for the 2024 U.S. Presidential office.
“Throughout his career, Jack Smith has built a reputation as an impartial and determined prosecutor who leads teams with energy and focus to follow the facts wherever they lead,” explained Garland in a press briefing held this past Friday. “As special counsel, he will exercise independent prosecutorial judgment to decide whether charges should be brought.”
Smith was not in attendance at the press briefing hosted in Washington, D.C., where his appointment was made public. The DOJ stated that he will once again come back to the U.S. from the Netherlands once he had fully recovered from a bicycle accident that happened recently, as reported by The New York Times. Smith has already officially resigned from his role at The Hague as the chief prosecutor, where he has held a position since 2018 investigating possible war crimes.
The appointment was fully accepted by Smith in a release: “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. I will exercise independent judgement and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”
Smith first started working as a prosecutor in 1994 for the New York County District Attorney’s office where he investigated and prosecuted domestic violence offenses and sex crimes, as reported by the New York Post. He later shifted over to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and worked in a series of supervisory roles, at one point resulting in the managing of the work of well over 100 prosecutors.