Professor and Senior Scholar Steve Friedland provided insights on the special counsel overseeing the criminal prosecution of former President Donald Trump for alleged violations of the Espionage Act.
Elon Law Senior Scholar and Professor of Law Steve Friedland has been featured in recent news reports from ABC News and PolitiFact on Jack Smith, the special counsel who secured federal indictments against former President Donald Trump for his alleged mishandling of classified documents under the Espionage Act.
Friedland said of Smith to ABC News reporter Alexandra Hutzler: “His main focus as a prosecutor is, ‘Can I prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt?’ And what we’ve seen with him, just looking at who he’s prosecuted, he’s prosecuted people in all parties.”
Smith’s record shows “an aggressive approach, although one clearly devoid of any partisanship.” To PolitiFact (which syndicated its story to the Dallas Morning News), Friedland said prosecutors shouldn’t be judged on a “wins and losses” standard, as it is the prosecutors’ job to represent the people and pursue cases following laws enacted by public officials.
“It is more complex than that,” Friedland said. “Given the high burden of proof — beyond a reasonable doubt — prosecutors should not obtain convictions all of the time. Nor should they even prosecute the same way, if at all, every time they can; that is why prosecutorial discretion is so important.”
Friedland is a founding member of the Elon Law faculty and a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He has published articles in multiple top law reviews, and his books on evidence law, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, and law school teaching have been published by the West Publishing Company, Aspen Press, Lexis Publishing Company and Carolina Academic Press.