As reported earlier today, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith has been arrested following a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.
45-year-old Smith was arrested on Wednesday at his office by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with 6 counts of violating state law by advising, counseling, consulting or defending criminals.
According to reports: the joint investigation revealed that Smith violated the law related to his involvement with two different criminal defendants while serving as district attorney.
- Count 1 alleges that on June 10, 2016, Smith helped Darnell Turner, charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence, by providing his attorney, Dennis Sweet, III, with emails of conversations between the state, the district attorney and the court regarding previously sealed court cases.
- Count 2 alleges that on May 26, 2016, Smith helped Christopher Butler, charged with embezzlement and wire fraud, by meeting with him at the Hinds County Jail without the presence of Butler’s attorney.
- Count 3 alleges that on March 21, 2016, Smith helped Butler by delivering to his attorney, Sanford Knott, a letter in which Smith advises Knott of various ways to attack the state’s pending case against Butler.
- Count 4 alleges that on May 9, 2016, Smith helped Butler by meeting with him without the presence of his attorney.
- Count 5 alleges that between January 14, 2016 and June 20, 2016, Smith helped Butler by meeting with his family and referring to Butler as “his client”, attempting to retain defense counsel for Butler and working with defense counsel to obtain his release from the Hinds County Jail.
- Count 6 alleges that between January 14, 2016 and June 20, 2016, Smith helped Butler, then charged with possession of a controlled substance, by using the power of the grand jury to pressure a sitting circuit court judge to dismiss the charges of possession of marijuana.
Smith was booked into the Hinds County Jail and if convicted he could be removed as district attorney and prohibited from holding any other elected office or government position. He also faces a $500 fine.
But Smith fired back with a press release this afternoon with a countercharge claiming that AG Hood was using the power of his office to intimidate and obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation by the Hinds DA into alleged illegal activities by state officials.
SMITH PRESS RELEASE:
June 22, 2016
For Immediate Release
(Jackson, Miss) Today, June 22, 2016, the Office of the Attorney General entered into my office while I was preparing for a Grand Jury presentation. Lee McDivitt, investigator with the Attorney General Jim Hood’s Office told me that they had a warrant for my arrest. Lee McDivitt is the same investigator who had been served with a subpoena to appear before a Hinds County Grand Jury related to an investigation by the Hinds County District Attorney regarding improper and illegal activities by certain state officials.
McDivitt and other officials who were subpoenaed to appear before the Hinds County Grand Jury conspired to Quash the subpoenas to avoid them having to give testimony under oath.
These improper and illegal actions taken by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood are designed to intimidate, embarrass, and obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation.
These misdemeanors allegations are not only false, but designed to denigrate the credibility of the Hinds County District Attorney.