Special prosecutor in Alec Baldwin Rust lawsuit to step down from case
The special prosecutor in Alec Baldwin’s US lawsuit has announced she is stepping down from the case to ensure her involvement does not “cloud the real issue at hand”.
In a statement released via the Santa Fe district attorney’s office on Tuesday, Andrea Reeb said the decision was “the best way I can ensure justice is served in this case”.
The Hollywood actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the Rust movie set in October 2021.
He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Baldwin’s lawyers previously argued that Ms Reeb’s involvement in the case was “unconstitutional”, due to her elected position in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
They said that position her position was a violation of the state constitution’s separation of powers provision and that she could “make prosecutorial decisions that serve her legislative interests”.
Despite backing from Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, Ms Reeb announced her decision to step back on Tuesday.
“After much reflection, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case,” a statement, released by the DA’s office, read.
“My priority in this case — and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career — has been justice for the victim.
“However, 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.
“I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
The announcement comes one week after the DA described the motion to have Ms Reeb dismissed from the case as being based on a “novel theory that has no support in New Mexico statutes or case law”.
In a response filing, the DA said the state constitution provided a variety of safeguards against legislators interfering with the outcome of ongoing court cases.
“Any attempt by Ms Reeb as a legislator to influence the outcome of this trial would be completely ineffective,” the filing stated.
“Disqualification of a special prosecutor on constitutional grounds is a severe remedy and cannot be supported by the imaginative but unsupported theories set out by the Defendant’s motion.”
Baldwin is next set to appear in court on May 3 for a two-week preliminary hearing, during which it will be decided whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.