JACKSON, Miss.- The Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was arrested at his home on Tuesday after an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.
The investigation began after Smith was alleged to be illegally advising or defending people charged with crimes.
Investigators with the AG’s office and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office took him to the Hinds County Jail on six counts of violating Mississippi Code Section 97-11-3, which a misdemeanor.
The law states that the attorney general and all district attorneys should not “consult, advise, counsel or defend” a person charged with a crime.
If Smith is convicted he would lose his position as Hinds County District Attorney and could not hold any other elected office. He would also face a $500 fine.
“Those who are sworn to uphold the law are not above the law,” said Donald Always, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “Though today’s charges are only allegations, public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts. The FBI appreciates the close cooperation on this matter with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.”
The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Late Tuesday afternoon Smith issues a statement on the arrest
“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.”