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Tag: jack smith

DOJ’s Top Public Corruption Investigator, Jack Smith, Takes New Job

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section has overcome some embarrassing blunders, from caving in to politicians to failing to convict former Sen. Ted Stevens and Sen. John Edwards.

In 2010, Jack Smith became the head of the beleaguered section, shouldered with the daunting responsibility of improving the prosecutors’ images as they go after public graft.

By most accounts, Smith turned around the section and last year won a highly publicized conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Smith will become the top assistant to David Rivera, the U.S. Attorney in Nashville, TN., giving him an opportunity to return to trying cases, which he has missed.

Edwards Case a Test for Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After screwing up the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section will get another chance — this time with ex-Sen. John Edwards– to prove it can take down a high profile public figure without any major goofs.

You might recall the Public Integrity Section convicted Ted Stevens on very-straight forward public corruption charges in 2008, only to have the whole thing tossed out for prosecutorial misconduct after prosecutors failed to turn over key evidence to the defense.

“This case is just as important for the government as it is for Edwards,” Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and co-author of “The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption” told the Christian Science Monitor.

The Public Integrity Section “certainly understands they’re under the microscope,” he said.

Since the Stevens case, the unit has gotten a new new chief, former New York-based federal prosecutor Jack Smith, the Christian Science Monitor reported. And the Justice Department has ordered training for prosecutors to assure that they disclose key evidence to defense attorneys.

“Will a federal prosecutor ever make another mistake in the course of complying with his or her disclosure obligations?” US Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer asked at a recent symposium, according to the paper. “Of course. We are human – and in an age when the discovery in a single case may consist of terabytes of information, the challenges are significant.”

The paper reports that the Justice Department will have its challenges when prosecuting Edwards. The two-time presidential candidate  has claimed he had no idea his aides spent hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars to hide his lover, campaign videographer Rielle Hunter during the 2008 bid for president.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Higdon Jr. and Brian S. Meyers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina along with Deputy Chief Justin V. Shur and Trial Attorneys David V. Harbach II and Jeffrey E. Tsai of the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Critics Say Justice Dept. May Be Gun Shy Going After Lawmakers

Lanny Breuer says Justice Dept. not gun shy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Is the Justice Department losing its nerve to go after Congress members?

The New York Times reports that critics feel that way in wake of the dismissal of some high profile probes into members of Congress like Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.).

“They’re gun-shy,” J. Gerald Hebert, the executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that seeks greater disclosure of how money influences politics, told the Times.

But Jack Smith, chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Justice Department, and his supervisor, Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, disputed that, according to the Times.

“It’s just not the case that anyone is gun-shy,” Breuer told the Times. “If a case cannot be brought, it’s because we’ve taken a hard look and made the determination that this case cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. And with all due respect to those outside the department, they haven’t seen the evidence. They don’t know the materials, and we’ve looked at it all.”

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