Attorney General Ashley Moody released a statement Monday mourning the death of Associate Deputy Attorney General Chesterfield Smith Jr.
Smith died Saturday after he was struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle in Wakulla Springs. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the circumstances regarding the afternoon collision remain “unknown.”
Smith was 69-years-old.
“Heartbroken at the sudden loss of our Associate Deputy Attorney General Chesterfield Smith,” Moody said in a social media post. “Chet was a brilliant attorney and more importantly a great human being. I’m shocked, and our entire office is grieving as we mourn a man who meant so much to us personally and professionally.”
A University of Miami School of Law graduate, Smith began his career with the Attorney General’s Office in 1994. The Bartow native specialized in several areas of law including civil rights law, civil trial practice, class actions, deceptive and unfair trade practices, intellectual property, Medicaid law and securing outside counsel.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Smith advised more than 260 employees in general civil litigation and also served as chief of state programs litigation.
He was admitted into the Florida Bar in 1990.
“Terribly sorry to hear this news,” the Florida Bar said on social media. “Condolences and best wishes to the Smith family during this difficult time.”
Smith shares the same name as his father, a renowned lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association. The elder Smith famously criticized former President Richard Nixon after he terminated Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and forced the resignation two Department of Justice heads.
A day later, Smith — acting as president of the ABA — urged the appointment of an independent special prosecutor in a statement.
“No man is above the law,” Smith said of the incident, known now as the Saturday Night Massacre.
Smith’s actions garnered him the nickname ‘America’s Lawyer.”
Famed NBC broadcaster Tom Brokaw devoted a chapter of his book, The Greatest Generation, to Smith.
Before leading the ABA, Smith served as president of the Florida Bar Association and as a member of the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission.