Who is DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith?

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he has hired former Justice Department prosecutor Jack Smith to oversee two major Justice Department investigations into former President Donald Trump to best serve the public interest.

Smith will be responsible for overseeing criminal investigations into whether an individual or entity interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, as well as investigating whether classified records and documents were stolen from Trump’s Florida home.

The announcement comes three days after Trump launched his third candidacy for the White House.

In announcing Smith’s appointment, Garland called Smith “the right choice to bring these matters to an impartial and urgent conclusion.” Here’s a look at Smith’s background and career.

Most recently, he investigated war crimes

Smith most recently worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, investigating and prosecuting war crimes. The DOJ said Smith conducted “sensitive investigations” into foreign government officials and militia personnel on charges related to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

From 2008 to 2010 he was investigative coordinator in the prosecutor’s office of the International Criminal Court.

Smith served as chief of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Division

From 2010 to 2015, Smith served as head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Unit, which the DOJ says oversees investigations and prosecutions of federal crimes that compromise the integrity of government. These include cases such as bribery of government officials and electoral crimes, investigations and prosecutions of elected and appointed officials at all levels.

In 2015, Smith and his team pursued former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell on a series of corruption charges. That same year, they prosecuted former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for leaking classified information and obstructing justice.

He spent nearly a decade with the US Attorney’s Office

Smith spent a total of nine years in various positions with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. He served as Chief of Criminal Trials and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, according to the DOJ, where he oversaw about 100 law enforcement officers on cases including violent and gang crime, commercial and financial fraud, and public corruption.

Smith had other notable roles and responsibilities

After leaving the DOJ in 2015, Smith relocated to Tennessee, where he served as First Assistant United States Attorney and Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

From there he went into private business, where he served as vice president and chief litigator for the Hospital Corporation of America; according to the Kosovo Special Chambers and the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the largest non-governmental healthcare providers in the country.

Smith has received more than a handful of awards throughout his career, including the Director’s Award from the Department of Justice, the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Younger Federal Attorney Award from the Federal Bar Association, the Charles Rose Award from the Eastern District Association, and the Henry L Stimson Medal from the New York County Bar Association.

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