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Chicago-Area Lawyer Accused of Murder for Hire Pleads Not Guilty
(And ATL readers come to his defense.)

Jason Smiekel

It’s not every day that a lawyer is accused of murder for hire. But that’s what happened earlier this month, when Illinois lawyer Jason W. Smiekel was accused of trying to put a hit out on a former client — who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s current girlfriend (or fiancée).

Last week, the feds unveiled the indictment against Jason Smiekel (who was originally charged by complaint). At his arraignment last Wednesday, Smiekel pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in a murder-for-hire scheme.

Since his arrest, we’ve heard from friends and colleagues of Jason Smiekel, 29, who claim that he’s getting a bum rap. They claim that blame for this unfortunate series of events should be located… elsewhere.

“How come no one is talking about his ‘girlfriend’?” asked one reader. “She needs to be questioned as well.”

So, let’s talk about that girlfriend — the one that an ATL tipster described as a “hot hot hot blonde”….

First, here’s more about the charges against Smiekel, from the Daily Herald:

An Algonquin attorney was indicted Tuesday in federal court and charged with using his cellphone and car in what authorities said was a scheme to kill his girlfriend’s ex-husband.

Jason W. Smiekel was charged with two counts of using a cellphone and three counts of using an automobile in the murder-for-hire scheme, according to court records. He was also charged with two counts of causing “another” to use a cellphone in the scheme, according to the indictment.

Smiekel is being held without bail. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine for each of the seven counts.

Those who know Smiekel can’t believe the charges. Terry Mohr, senior partner at the matrimonial law boutique of Mohr Hill & Smiekel, said to the ABA Journal that the charges came as “a complete shock” to him. Another former colleague, Carol Hill, told the Daily Herald that “in the five years I have known Jason, I have seen nothing that would suggest to me that he is capable of this type of action.”

One ATL reader who has appeared opposite Smiekel praised both his lawyering skills and his fashion sense:

I represented a client opposite Jason Smiekel in a divorce case…. I don’t know him apart from court, but he was a pleasant enough fellow. He was very professional, courteous and willing to work through the details of the divorce matter.

The physical description of him posted [earlier] is accurate. He is fairly short with swept-back, thinning dark hair. He sports a goatee and is a fairly snappy dresser, especially for the northwest suburbs [of Chicago]. He frequently wore three-piece suits and I don’t think I saw him repeat an outfit over the several months I worked opposite him (unlike me).

Was Smeagol -- er, Smiekel -- overly influenced by love of his Precious?

If these charges are true — recall that, at this point, they are merely charges — what could have caused a talented young attorney to get in this kind of trouble? Some ATL sources claim that Smiekel fell under the spell of a very beautiful but very dangerous woman, the “hot hot hot blonde” mentioned previously (hereinafter “HHHB”).

If the face of a beautiful woman can launch a thousand ships, perhaps it can also result in seven federal charges of participating in a murder-for-hire scheme. Here is what one ATL tipster alleged to us about HHHB:

All of Jason’s friends would like to know why the “hot hot blonde” is not in custody?

This is so out of character for a well-liked young man.

The hot blonde is supposedly 25 years old, with a five-year-old child.

Very manipulative for her to convince Jay to go against his own client [and] leave his wife (pregnant at the time), and [then to] proceed to suck his finances dry. Horse, car, engagement bling ring — yes they were engaged — and money.

“I cannot believe he would ever consider anything even close to this,” said this friend of Jason Smiekel. “[G]ood grades, great family, an extremely well mannered young man. This has the makings of one of those made-for-TV movies, with the evil young woman who uses men to further her goals of financial gain. Black widow?”

“More to this story than anyone knows,” concluded this source, “and sad to say, I believe he is protecting the real criminal.”

These allegations against Smiekel’s fiancée — or ex-fiancée? — might merit investigation. Did she play a role in the alleged scheme? But if Smiekel rather than HHHB was the one caught talking to federal agents, then HHHB might escape criminal liability. Being beautiful isn’t a crime.

Still, Smiekel’s friends remain very upset by the situation as they perceive it. One of them referred to HHHB as a “master manipulator.” (Or should that be “mistress manipulator”?)

“Jay is a good-looking young man, very charismatic, who never had a problem dating in high school,” a source told ATL. “He was very happily married before this person came on to him and convinced him to come over to the dark side.”

“All of his close friends know more of the story. And you will see in the end that he is the victim in this whole fiasco.”

Algonquin attorney indicted in murder-for-hire [Daily Herald]
Attorney pleads not guilty in case [Northwest Herald]
Algonquin Man Indicted on Federal Murder for Hire Charges [U.S. Department of Justice]
United States v. Jason W. Smiekel: Indictment [U.S. Department of Justice]

Earlier: What Is Up With Chicago-Area Lawyers? Updates on Reema Bajaj and Jason Smiekel

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