Jack Smith (lawyer)

Extended-protected article
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jack Smith
Smith standing in front of flags, wearing a suit
Smith in 2023
Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice
Assumed office
November 18, 2022
Appointed byMerrick Garland
United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee
March 14, 2017 – September 21, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byDavid Rivera
Succeeded byDonald Q. Cochran
Personal details
John Luman Smith

(1969-06-05) June 5, 1969 (age 54)
Political partyIndependent[1]
(m. 2011)

John Luman Smith (born June 5, 1969) is an American attorney who has served in the United States Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. attorney, acting U.S. attorney, and head of the department's Public Integrity Section. He was also the chief prosecutor at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, an international tribunal at The Hague tasked with investigating and prosecuting war crimes in the Kosovo War.

In November 2022, attorney general Merrick Garland appointed Smith an independent special counsel, responsible for overseeing two preexisting Justice Department criminal investigations into former president Donald Trump, three days after Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign: one regarding Trump's role in the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack, and the other into alleged mishandling of government records, including classified documents. The documents case resulted in a 37-count indictment of Trump in June 2023 to which three counts were later added in July.[2] In August, the January 6 case resulted in an indictment on four charges.[3]

Early life and education

Smith was born on June 5, 1969.[4] He grew up in Clay, New York, a suburb of Syracuse.[5][6] His father was a draftsman of air-conditioning systems; his mother was a homemaker for most of Smith's childhood.[7] He graduated from Liverpool High School in 1987,[8] where he played football and baseball.[9] He then studied political science at the State University of New York at Oneonta, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude.[9][10][11] Smith then attended Harvard Law School, from which he graduated cum laude in 1994 with the degree of Juris Doctor.[6]


Smith in 2017 while acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee

After graduating from law school, Smith joined the Manhattan District Attorney's office, serving as assistant district attorney. He was a member of the sex crimes and domestic violence units of the DA's office.[12] He joined the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York in 1999. As an assistant U.S. attorney at the Brooklyn-based office, he prosecuted the police officers who brutalized and sexually assaulted Abner Louima, and led the case towards the death penalty—which was later overturned—against Ronell Wilson, who murdered two members of the New York Police Department.[6][13][14]

From 2008 to 2010, Smith worked as investigation coordinator for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.[15][14] In that position, he oversaw cases against government officials and militia members accused of war crimes and genocide.[6][13] In 2010, Smith returned to the U.S. to become chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section (PIN).[5][14] Among his first responsibilities was evaluating current investigations, and he recommended closing investigations into several members of Congress.[6][a] He spent five years as chief of PIN, where he prosecuted a variety of corruption cases, including those against Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, U.S. representative Rick Renzi, Jeffrey Sterling, a Central Intelligence Agency agent who shared national secrets,[16][14] New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver,[17] and North Carolina Senator John Edwards.[18] McDonnell, Renzi, Sterling,[16] and Silver were found guilty,[17] though the Supreme Court later unanimously overturned McDonnell's conviction.[19] Edwards' case ended in mistrial.[18]

In 2015, Smith became an assistant U.S. attorney in the Middle District of Tennessee, at Nashville.[20][14] He became the acting U.S. attorney in March 2017 upon the resignation of David Rivera, and resigned effective September 2017 after the nomination of Donald Q. Cochran.[21] Smith became the vice president and head of litigation for Hospital Corporation of America in 2017.[22]

On May 7, 2018, Smith was named to a four-year term as chief prosecutor for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, investigating war crimes in the Kosovo War.[12][13][20] During his time as the chief prosecutor, he brought charges against several individuals, including Salih Mustafa[23][24][25] and the sitting President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi.[26] He took up the post on September 11, 2018, and was appointed to a second term on May 8, 2022, before stepping down on November 18, 2022.[27]

United States special counsel

Document boxes in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom photographed by the Justice Department

On November 18, 2022, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith special counsel to oversee the criminal investigations into Donald Trump's actions regarding the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack, and Trump's handling and storage of government records, including classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.[13][16][28][29] He worked initially from the Netherlands while recovering from a fractured leg, injured when he was struck by a scooter while cycling.[6] By early January 2023, Smith had returned to the U.S.[30]

On June 8, 2023, a grand jury indicted Trump on seven federal criminal charges related to his handling of classified documents. This marked the first time in American history that a serving or former president has been indicted on a federal criminal charge.[31] On August 1, Trump was indicted by a grand jury on four more federal felony counts relating to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his conduct during the attack on the Capitol.[3]


  • U.S. Department of Justice Director's Award[32]
  • U.S. Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service[33]
  • Federal Bar Association's Younger Federal Attorney Award[33]
  • Eastern District Association's Charles Rose Award[32]
  • Henry L. Stimson Medal of the New York County Bar Association[32]
  • Harvard Law School Wasserstein Fellowship[34]

Personal life

Smith is a competitive triathlete, having taken up swimming when he was in his mid-thirties.[35][36] He has completed more than 100 triathlons and at least nine Ironman competitions around the world.[37] In July 2011, he married Katy Chevigny,[38] a documentary filmmaker[39] known for Becoming, a 2020 documentary about Michelle Obama. They have a daughter.[36] The couple lived in the Netherlands starting in 2018,[9] before moving to Washington, D.C. in December 2022, shortly after Smith was appointed as special counsel.[4]


  1. ^ Smith recommended closing investigations into senator John Ensign and representatives Tom DeLay, Jerry Lewis, and Alan Mollohan.[6]


  1. ^ Tucker, Eric; Balsamo, Michael (November 18, 2022). "Merrick Garland names special counsel to oversee Trump classified documents probe: 'The extraordinary circumstances here demand it'". Fortune. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  2. ^ Sneed, Tierney; Cohen, Marshall; Herb, Jeremy (July 27, 2023). "Special counsel brings more charges against Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case". CNN. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Gannon, Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen, Devan Cole, Hannah Rabinowitz, Katelyn Polantz, Casey (August 1, 2023). "Donald Trump has been indicted in special counsel's 2020 election interference probe | CNN Politics". CNN. Retrieved August 2, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b Thrush, Glenn (June 8, 2023). "Who Is Jack Smith, the Special Counsel Who Indicted Trump?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Yost, Pete (August 30, 2010). "DOJ's elite Public Integrity unit gets new leader". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Savage, Charlie; Feuer, Alan (November 19, 2022). "In New Special Counsel, a Prosecutor Schooled in Corruption Cases". The New York Times. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  7. ^ Roig-Franzia, Manuel (October 3, 2023). "What's it like to be prosecuted by Jack Smith?". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  8. ^ Casey, Ashley M. (November 18, 2022). "Liverpool grad named special counsel to oversee Trump investigations". Eagle News Online. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c Eisenstadt, Marnie (December 14, 2022). "How Jack Smith went from Liverpool football bench to a starring role in Trump investigation". syracuse.com. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  10. ^ Keller, Aaron (November 18, 2022). "Special Counsel Tapped by Merrick Garland to Investigate Trump Formerly Prosecuted Top Democrats and Republicans". Law & Crime. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  11. ^ Scott, Eugene (November 18, 2022). "Who is Jack Smith, special counsel in Trump criminal investigation?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Specialist Prosecutor". Kosovo Specialist Chambers & Specialist Prosecutor's Office. May 20, 2016. Archived from the original on November 18, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d Cohen, Zachary; Scannell, Kara; Herb, Jeremy; Polantz, Katelyn; Duster, Chandelis (November 18, 2022). "Who is Jack Smith, the special counsel named in the Trump investigations". CNN. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d e Feuer, Alan; Savage, Charlie (November 18, 2022). "Who Is Jack Smith, the New Special Counsel?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 7, 2022. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  15. ^ "Jack Smith". United States Department of Justice. April 14, 2015. Archived from the original on November 26, 2022. Retrieved December 2, 2022. From 2008 to 2010, Jack served as Investigation Coordinator in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands.
  16. ^ a b c Gerstein, Josh; Cheney, Kyle (November 18, 2022). "Garland names Jack Smith special counsel for Trump criminal probes". Politico. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  17. ^ a b Hurtado, Patricia (November 20, 2022). "New Trump Special Counsel Impartial and Tough, Ex-Colleagues Say". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  18. ^ a b "Revisiting Trump special counsel Jack Smith's failed prosecution of John Edwards". Carolina Journal -. July 28, 2023. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  19. ^ Barnes, Robert (June 27, 2019). "Supreme Court overturns corruption conviction of former Va. governor McDonnell". The Washington Post.
  20. ^ a b Jones, Dustin (November 18, 2022). "Who is DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith?". NPR. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  21. ^ Barchenger, Stacey (August 4, 2017). "Jack Smith to resign from Nashville federal prosecutor's office". The Tennessean. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  22. ^ "US Prosecutor Jack Smith appointed Specialist Prosecutor". Kosovo Specialist Chambers & Specialist Prosecutor's Office (Press release). May 4, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  23. ^ Berg, Stephanie van den (September 15, 2021). "Ex-rebel denies war crimes as Kosovo tribunal starts first trial". Reuters. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  24. ^ "Prosecutors seek 35-year prison term for Kosovo ex-rebel accused of torture". Reuters. September 13, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  25. ^ Perez, Evan (December 16, 2022). "Kosovo rebel commander sentenced to 26 years in prison for war crimes in case overseen by the special counsel named in the Trump probe". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  26. ^ "Kosovo ex-president Thaci denies war crimes in Hague court". Al Jazeera English. November 9, 2020. Retrieved November 28, 2023.
  27. ^ "Former Specialist Prosecutors". Kosovo Specialist Chambers & Specialist Prosecutor's Office. June 10, 2023. Archived from the original on June 10, 2023. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  28. ^ Thrush, Glenn; Savage, Charlie; Haberman, Maggie; Feuer, Alan (November 18, 2022). "Garland Names Special Counsel for Trump Inquiries". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 18, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  29. ^ "Appointment of a Special Counsel". U.S. Department of Justice (Press release). November 18, 2022. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  30. ^ Stein, Perry; Barrett, Devlin (January 3, 2023). "Jack Smith returns to U.S. weeks after becoming Trump special counsel". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 27, 2023.
  31. ^ Mangan, Dan; Bhattacharjee, Riya (June 8, 2023). "Trump indicted on seven criminal counts in classified documents case". CNBC. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  32. ^ a b c Leonard, Barbara (May 7, 2018). "US Prosecutor Tapped to Head Up Kosovo War Crime Court". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  33. ^ a b Gans, Jared (November 18, 2022). "Who is Special Counsel Jack Smith?". The Hill. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  34. ^ "Past Wasserstein Fellows". Harvard Law School. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  35. ^ Viswanatha, Aruna; Gurman, Sadie (November 18, 2022). "Jack Smith Brings Broad Resume, Low Political Profile to High-Visibility Post". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  36. ^ a b "Masters/Tri Q&A: Jack Smith". Nashville Aquatic Club (Interview). January 31, 2018. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  37. ^ "Who is Jack Smith? What to know about the special counsel who charged Trump". Washington Post. June 9, 2023. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  38. ^ "Class Notes". Harvard Law Bulletin. Vol. 63. 2012. p. 58. Retrieved June 10, 2023. On July 23, Jack Smith and Katy Chevigny were married on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York by the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis. Smith is serving as the chief of the public integrity section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where the couple lives.
  39. ^ "WEDDINGS; Katy Chevigny, Jonathan Chen". The New York Times. September 30, 2001. Archived from the original on November 19, 2022. Retrieved June 17, 2023.

External links