Appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November 2022, 54-year-old veteran prosecutor Jack Smith has now presented two indictments against Trump. The initial indictment focused on Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Smith’s commitment to conducting thorough and impartial criminal investigations was made clear upon his appointment.
In a statement, Smith asserted, “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.” He pledged to maintain an unwavering pace in the investigations and ensure an expedited and comprehensive process in line with the facts and the law.
Before leading the investigations into Trump, Smith held a prominent role as a specialist prosecutor at The Hague’s Kosovo Specialist Chambers, investigating war crimes during Kosovo’s bid for independence from Serbia between 1998 and 2000. Smith, a Harvard law school graduate and registered independent, initiated his legal career in 1994 at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the same office that previously filed a 34-count indictment against Trump in April related to hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential election.
Smith’s career path then led him to the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of New York, where he supervised around 100 criminal prosecutors handling cases involving terrorism, civil rights violations, and financial fraud until 2008. Subsequently, he took on leadership roles, heading the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section from 2010 to 2015, overseeing investigations and prosecutions concerning government integrity-related crimes.
Reflecting on his uncompromising stance, Smith stated in a 2010 interview with the New York Times, “If I were the sort of person who could be cowed… I would find another line of work.” In 2015, he assumed the position of first assistant US attorney for the middle district of Tennessee before being appointed as acting US attorney in 2017. Eventually, he became the specialist prosecutor at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in 2018.
Condemning the events of January 6th, Smith denounced the assault on the US Capitol, characterizing it as an attack fueled by falsehoods aimed at obstructing a fundamental aspect of the US government – the electoral process. He pledged to move swiftly toward trial after this third indictment against Trump, emphasizing that the indictment stands as an allegation and that the defendant remains presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.