Jack is not a dull boy
Jack is not a dull boy
On August 9, 1997, New York City police officers arrested Haitian immigrant Abner Louima outside a dance club in Flatbush, Brooklyn. After a brief scuffle, Louima was taken to the 70th Precinct station house, where she was forced into a bathroom and tortured with a broken stick until both her colon and kidney ruptured. The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn handled the trial of the four accused police officers, and the ringleader of the attack, Justin Volpe, is serving a 30-year sentence.
At the time, the Louima case was highly publicized because it was legally and politically significant. Legal pressure was immense as white police officers were accused of committing unimaginable brutality on a helpless black man, in a display of appalling disregard for his civil rights. Politically, the case clearly linked race and poverty to police brutality, so local politicians desperately wanted some of the officers involved to be punished. Because no one wants to be convicted more than current Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, he demanded that the Louima case be handled by the most qualified, clean-cut and fearless prosecutor the Brooklyn US Attorney could provide.
In the end, the person chosen to lead the Louima prosecution was Jack Smith, the same man who was recently appointed to oversee the US Department of Justice’s investigation into former President Donald Trump. And it was in his new role as special counsel that on January 10, Jack Smith crossed paths with Rudy Giuliani again … this time to issue a subpoena related to the 2020 election.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1994, Mr. Smith began working under Robert Morgenthau in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, best known for prosecuting mob bosses. In 1999, when he moved to the United States Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, Jack served in a supervisory capacity with an increasing focus on public corruption. In an interview with The Associated Press, he told reporters that he believed his work as a prosecutor was important because it served people like his parents who, “…paid their taxes, followed the rules, and expected their government officials to do the same.” expected.”
In 2008, Smith was asked to oversee war crimes trials at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It was there that he began honing his skills in prosecuting corrupt government officials and militia members.
He returned in 2010 as head of the US Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Division. During this period Jack Smith suffered two of his worst losses … the campaign finance suit against former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and the bribery suit against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Both trials resulted in acquittals and/or hung juries. But at the same time, Mr. Smith Jeffrey A. Sterling, a former CIA officer convicted of national security secrets and obstruction of justice, led the successful prosecution.
In 2013, he pleaded guilty to extortion, bribery, insurance fraud, money laundering and racketeering against Rick Renzi (R-AZ). Although Renzi appealed his conviction to the Ninth Circuit Court where they upheld the jury’s original 17-count verdict, Renzi received a full pardon from President Donald Trump in January 2021.
In recent years, Mr Smith has returned to The Hague, this time serving as lead prosecutor investigating the ethnic cleansing that took place between 1998 and 2000 during the Kosovo war. In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith to oversee two ongoing federal investigations surrounding attempts to tamper with the 2020 election results and the theft of classified material stored at Mar-a-Lago. In this role, Smith is responsible for determining whether the former president should face any charges at all. Smith learned that when the facts don’t warrant a case, you can’t go forward with a case, and he proved that by closing the long-running investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom Daley (R-TX), Rep. Don Young (R -AK), and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), without ever filing charges.
Ultimately, if the Justice Department indicts Trump, the results will be ugly regardless of what the evidence shows. Trump’s most ardent supporters will be convinced that the DOJ is acting politically, and if charges are not brought, Trump’s harshest critics will claim that the DOJ is guilty of cowardice. But no one will bother Jack Smith as he has already faced war criminals, mobsters and corrupt police. Now in his mid-50s, he will bring the experience, temperament and demeanor necessary to combat the fierce partisan hatred that is sure to follow whichever path he follows.
And we can be sure that like Jack, 2023 will not be dull.
— Community columnist Lynn Smith is a retired wealth management executive who lives in Holland. Contact him [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the Holland Sentinel: Lynn Smith: Jack is no dull boy
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