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Donald Smaltz

Donald Smaltz

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Donald C. Smaltz is California lawyer who was appointed as Independent Counsel to investigate charges that Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy
Mike Espy
Alphonso Michael "Mike" Espy is a former United States political figure. From 1987 to 1993, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Mississippi. He served as the Secretary of Agriculture from 1993 to 1994. He was the first African American Secretary of Agriculture...

 had received improper gifts from companies with business before his department.

Background


Smaltz is the son of a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Bethlehem is a city in Lehigh and Northampton Counties in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 74,982, making it the seventh largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie,...

 steelworker and an Italian immigrant mother. He attended Penn State University and Dickinson School of Law
Dickinson School of Law
Penn State University Dickinson School of Law is the law school of The Pennsylvania State University...

 where he receivid his law degree
Law degree
A Law degree is an academic degree conferred for studies in law. Such degrees are generally preparation for legal careers; but while their curricula may be reviewed by legal authority, they do not themselves confer a license...

 in 1961.

US Army


Smaltz served as a trial attorney for the Army's
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 Judge Advocate General
Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Army
The Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army is composed of Army officers who are also lawyers and who provide legal services to the Army at all levels of command. The Judge Advocate General's Legal Service includes judge advocates, warrant officers, paralegal noncommissioned...

 Corps. He then spent several years as Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

 in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, where he specialized in white-collar crime
White-collar crime
Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" . Sutherland was a proponent of Symbolic Interactionism, and believed that criminal behavior was...

.

1970s


In 1975, after moving into private practice, Smaltz grabbed headlines when he and another lawyer accused Watergate
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 prosecutors of misconduct and persuaded a judge to dismiss two indictment
Indictment
An indictment , in the common-law legal system, is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that maintain the concept of felonies, the serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that lack the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an...

s against Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

's personal tax lawyer. Other high-profile clients have included the Teamsters
Teamsters
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is a labor union in the United States and Canada. Formed in 1903 by the merger of several local and regional locals of teamsters, the union now represents a diverse membership of blue-collar and professional workers in both the public and private sectors....

 and a bank with extensive ties to the late Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 dictator Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 and his wife
Imelda Marcos
Imelda R. Marcos is a Filipino politician and widow of 10th Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Upon the ascension of her husband to political power, she held various positions to the government until 1986...

.

1980s


During the Bush Administration, Smaltz was asked by Judge George MacKinnon
George MacKinnon
George Edward MacKinnon was appointed by President Nixon to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in May 1969, where he served until his death in 1995. Judge MacKinnon is also the father of feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon.According to Judge Harry T...

 if he would be interested in leading an independent counsel probe into fraud and mismanagement at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and join the Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

. Smaltz ultimately turned down the job.

1990s


In 1994, Smaltz accepted the offer to serve as independent counsel in the Mike Espy
Mike Espy
Alphonso Michael "Mike" Espy is a former United States political figure. From 1987 to 1993, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Mississippi. He served as the Secretary of Agriculture from 1993 to 1994. He was the first African American Secretary of Agriculture...

 case — a job that he says he originally expected to last six months.

Most prosecutors seek to cultivate a relentless and aggressive image, and Smaltz is no exception. The door to his office sported a poster-size version of the broad mandate he was given by the court to investigate charges against Espy. Above it Smaltz has placed an inscription from Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, which reads "The servants of the nation are to render their services without any taking of presents...the disobedient shall, if convicted, die without ceremony."

Smaltz had Espy indicted and took the case to trial but Espy was acquitted on all counts.
His investigation Espy resulted in 14 indictments, this included 2 convictions (not against Espy), 3 guilty pleas, 4 acquittals, 3 companies fines.

External links

  • "OFFICE OF INDEPENDENT COUNSEL - Donald C. Smaltz." CyberCemetery - University of North Texas
    University of North Texas
    The University of North Texas is a public institution of higher education and research in Denton. Founded in 1890, UNT is part of the University of North Texas System. As of the fall of 2010, the University of North Texas, Denton campus, had a certified enrollment of 36,067...

     Libraries & U.S. Government Printing Office. Accessed January 3, 2009.
  • "Supreme Court rules Sun Diamond Growers did not violate federal law in Espy case" - CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

    , April 27, 1999
  • "A Harsh Verdict for Espy's Prosecutor" - The Washington Post
    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

    , December 5, 1998
  • "Was this a bad idea?" - CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

    , December 14, 1998
  • Espy Acquitted in Gifts Case, Washington Post, December 3, 1998; Page A01