The Arkansas special prosecutor named to an investigation of former state Sen. Jake Files for possible state crime violations has served on several high-profile cases.

Although Files has pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire and bank fraud in the federal U.S. District Court, and is set for sentencing later this month, he has yet to be charged with any crimes in state court.

Jason Barrett, a staff attorney with the Arkansas Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator, was approved Monday by Sebastian County Circuit Judge Stephen Tabor as a special prosecutor in the Files investigation.

Barrett is a former deputy prosecuting attorney for Polk and Faulkner counties. He was recommended as the special prosecutor by State Prosecutor Coordinator Bob McMahan following a recent request by Sebastian County Prosecutor Daniel Shue for a special prosecutor in order to avoid any perceptions of conflict of interest.

One of the cases Barrett worked on was the 2017 prosecution of former Carroll County District Judge Timothy Parker over allegations of exchanging judicial rulings for sexual favors and money. Parker denied the allegations but agreed to never serve on an Arkansas bench again.

Barrett was also the special prosecutor for the recent sexual assault case against Dr. Robert Rook in Conway. And Barrett served as special prosecutor for the 2015 investigation of former Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck, who pleaded no contest to misdemeanor tampering. The "infamous crime" keeps Cradduck from holding public office in Arkansas again.

“I told Bob that I trusted his judgment and had no problem with it,” Tabor said Tuesday of Barrett’s requested assignment.

Barrett will now have all the powers of prosecution that Shue would have for the Files investigation case in the Sebastian County district.

Tabor explained the investigation by a special prosecutor is to determine whether there were any state laws broken by Files during his tenure as a state senator.

The investigation was prompted by Shue to find out more about an $80,000 wire transfer received in 2014 by Files’ now defunct construction company, FFH Construction, from nursing home co-owner David L. Norsworthy following Files support of a bill that eventually became Issue 1 on the upcoming November ballot. Issue 1 seeks to limit the amount of money a plaintiff can get, for example, in a negligence lawsuit against a nursing home.

Norsworthy is currently a board member of the Arkansas Health Care Association, an advocate for Issue 1 on the November ballot.

No explanation has been given by Norsworthy or Files for the $80,000 wire transfer. It’s possible that as special prosecutor, Barrett will be able to find out if the $80,000 was ever paid back to Norsworthy. At the time of the wire transfer, it was not a crime for state legislators to accept “loans” from lobbyists. Act 1108, passed in April 2016, made it against the law.