Alec Baldwin Finds Legal Win in Ongoing 'Rust' Case
Alec Baldwin has been the center of some heated legal trouble due to the fatal shooting on the set of Rust that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Some fortunes for the actor recently changed slightly after he scored a big win in his involuntary manslaughter case. Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb has chosen to step down, which is something Baldwin's legal team had fought for. On Tuesday, the office of New Mexico's First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies — who is prosecuting the actor — released Reed's statement, which was published by ET.
"After much reflection, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case," Reeb said. "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." Finally, Reeb added, "I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand."
Back in February, following the news that he would face charges in the Rust shooting, Baldwin's lawyers filed a request that Reeb be removed from the case. Their objection stemmed from the fact that Reeb is currently a member of the State House of Representatives in New Mexico, where the shooting took place and where Baldwin is being charged. According to their argument, Baldwin's attorneys feel that the Republican representative cannot maintain both titles — state lawmaker and special prosecutor — due to a separation of powers provision in the New Mexico state constitution that prohibits individuals from simultaneously holding the position of prosecutor while being a state lawmaker.
"Doing so vests two core powers of different branches -- legislating and prosecuting -- in the same person," the legal motion stated, "and is thus barred by the plain language of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution." The motion also argued that, should Reeb be allowed to continue as a special prosecutor, "Future District Attorneys could seek to curry favor with legislators who control their budgets by appointing them to high-profile cases," which could lead to "distorting the legislative process."
The motion adds, "At the same time, allowing a single person to exercise both legislative and prosecutorial power could taint prosecutorial decision-making, 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."