‘Rust’ special prosecutor steps down in a blow to Alec Baldwin prosecution
The special prosecutor for the closely watched “Rust” movie-set shooting case, Andrea Reeb, is stepping down.
The decision is the latest blow to the case brought by New Mexico against actor Alec Baldwin for the accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 on the set of “Rust,” a western movie.
Baldwin’s legal team had filed a motion demanding Reeb be removed due to her conflicting roles.
The actor was charged this year with involuntary manslaughter alongside armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed in connection with the fatal shooting of Hutchins on a movie ranch near Santa Fe, N.M. Baldwin has denied responsibility for the death and cited the actions of other crew members.
Baldwin’s attorneys had argued that the New Mexico Constitution prevents Reeb — a Republican state legislator — from simultaneously holding a position in the judicial and executive branch of government.
“It has become clear that the best way I can ensure justice is served in this case is to step down so that the prosecution can focus on the evidence and the facts, which clearly show a complete disregard for basic safety protocols led to the death of Halyna Hutchins,” Reeb said in a statement. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
Documents confirming the resignation will be filed with the court, said Heather Brewer, spokesperson for Mary Carmack-Altwies, New Mexico’s 1st Judicial District attorney.
Last month, Baldwin’s attorneys successfully convinced the courts to downgrade charges brought against the actor. They argued a “firearm enhancement” penalty carrying a mandatory prison sentence was wrongfully charged.
Baldwin faces a possible 18 months in prison if convicted of the involuntary manslaughter charge.
Alec Baldwin’s legal team, which now includes Elon Musk attorney Alex Spiro and former Trump appointee John Bash, argues that a sitting state legislator cannot serve as special prosecutor.
Reeb, who is a former district attorney from eastern New Mexico, became a part of the “Rust” prosecution team last summer during her campaign for a seat in the New Mexico Legislature. The Republican was elected to her first term in November; she took up her role in the New Mexico Legislature on Jan. 1.
Baldwin’s attorneys had argued that such a role could allow politics to influence the prosecution.
“A prosecutor who also serves as a legislator could face pressure to make prosecutorial decisions that serve her legislative interests, such as by prosecuting a prominent defendant associated with an opposing faction within the Legislature even in the face of conflicting evidence or law,” Baldwin’s February motion read.
Baldwin has become a lightning road for political conservatives since famously ridiculing President Trump on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The prominent Democrat became as known for his impression of Trump as his roles in the acclaimed movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” and the TV sitcom “30 Rock.”
Lawyers for both Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed declined to comment.
Baldwin’s legal team has recently been expanded to include Alex Spiro, who represents Elon Musk and has played a pivotal role in his takeover of Twitter. Spiro joined the case with John Bash, a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Texas.
Carmack-Altwies still needs to convince the court that she has enough of a case to take to trial.
Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.
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