Criminal Justice

Young Divorce Lawyer Allegedly Paid for Hit on Ex-Client, After Getting Involved With His Ex-Wife

A young Illinois lawyer who had seemingly bright career prospects is being held without bond after allegedly making a $7,000 down payment on a $20,000 contract to kill his girlfriend’s ex-husband.

Jason Smiekel, 29, was federally charged with plotting murder for hire after allegedly giving the money on Thursday to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent at a suburban Chicago restaurant, reports the Courier-News. No one was hurt, however, because the man to whom Smiekel allegedly paid the $7,000 was a federal undercover agent.

An affidavit filed in the Rockford case is posted on the McHenry County Blog. It says a whistle-blower approached by Smiekel alerted authorities.

The lawyer allegedly said he had represented his girlfriend in a divorce case (in fact, it apparently was her ex-husband who was Smiekel’s client). Smiekel also allegedly said he needed to have his girlfriend’s ex-husband killed because the man was about to testify against him in an unspecified “proceeding.”

The ex-husband, Smiekel allegedly said, had “information about Jason that could get Jason in trouble and lead to a criminal indictment,” as the affidavit puts it.

A partner at Mohr Hill & Smiekel, an Algonquin firm that specializes in matrimonial law, Smiekel was an excellent lawyer who “had a very special talent” and was respected by judges and everyone else familiar with his legal work, senior partner Terry Mohr tells the ABA Journal.

Although the affidavit says Smiekel represented his unidentified girlfriend in the divorce, Mohr says that is incorrect and Smiekel formerly represented her ex-husband, the man he allegedly sought to have killed. Smiekel stepped aside from the representation, Mohr says, due to becoming involved with the man’s ex-wife.

“Still numb” and in a state of near-disbelief this morning over the news of his partner’s arrest, Mohr said it came as “a complete shock” when Smiekel called him on Thursday night, said that he had been arrested and asked for Mohr’s help in finding an attorney.

“I said, ‘What are you being arrested for?’ ” Mohr recounts. “He said, ‘I can’t tell you. I’m on an ATF phone.’ “

The Courier-News article doesn’t include any comment from Smiekel or his counsel. Attorney R. Mark Gummerson, who is representing Smiekel, according to Mohr, did not immediately return a phone message from the ABA Journal this morning seeking comment.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission website says Smiekel is authorized to practice and has no history of discipline. The affidavit indicates that Smiekel might have been facing a disciplinary complaint by the man he formerly represented, and Mohr said this was so. However, Mohr also said that he didn’t believe the complaint against Smiekel would have been found to be justified.

The Daily Herald also has a story.

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