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The man who could bring down Donald Trump

He is currently overseeing two separate criminal investigations into a former American president, but Jack Smith is no stranger to bringing high-stakes cases.

Over the past two decades, Mr Smith, 54, has pursued public officials in the US and abroad – with a mixed record of success.

The veteran prosecutor has cut a low profile since his appointment as special counsel in the two investigations of Donald Trump by the US Department of Justice.

In announcing his selection last November, Attorney General Merrick Garland called him “the right choice to complete these matters in an even-handed and urgent manner”.

Mr Trump meanwhile has characterised Mr Smith as a “deranged” man at the forefront of a “political witch hunt” against him.

The special counsel has now indicted the ex-president on 40 felony counts over his alleged mishandling of classified documents. He is also expected to charge Mr Trump separately over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Much like the man he is now investigating, John Luman Smith is a New York native.

A Harvard Law School graduate, he began his prosecutorial career in 1994 as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Over the next decade, he climbed up the ranks of the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn, where he pursued violent gangs, white-collar fraudsters and public corruption cases.

He once spent a weekend sleeping in the hallway of an apartment building so he could convince a woman to take the witness stand in a domestic violence case, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

During that time, Mr Smith was also among those who investigated the infamous assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a broomstick by New York police.

His work on the team led in part to his recommendation as special counsel in the Trump cases, according to the New York Times.

In 2008, Mr Smith went overseas to The Hague in the Netherlands where he oversaw war crimes investigations as a junior investigator for the International Criminal Court.

He returned to the Justice Department two years later as chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity unit, which prosecutes federal crimes such as public bribery and election fraud.

In a 2010 AP interview, he described the career transition as leaving “the dream job for a better one”.

But when he took over, the unit was recovering from a prosecutorial debacle that had seen a banner criminal conviction tossed out by a judge.

Mr Smith’s stint began with the closure of some long-running investigations into members of Congress without charges, but he pressed ahead with other efforts.

Under his tenure, prosecutors brought a public corruption case against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, in a case unanimously overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2016.


Source: BBC

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