Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Case Prosecutors Dealt Another Major Loss

New Mexico's criminal case against Alec Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed took another hit during a virtual court hearing Monday. The judge on the case rejected the Santa Fe prosecutor's attempt to add a new special prosecutor to the case. Santa Fe First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb charged Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in January in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

During Monday's hearing, Carmack-Altwies pleaded with Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer to allow her office to hire outside counsel to work on the case. "We are in dire straits," she said, reports the Los Angeles Times. "We do not have sufficient manpower to fully prosecute this [case] by ourselves."

Gutierrez Reed's attorney filed a motion to stop Carmack-Altwies from hiring a new attorney for her team though. Sommer agreed with the motion. "You may not co-counsel stay the course and not use a special prosecutor and prosecuted on your own," the judge said, reports Deadline. "It's an either-or."

"If you cannot prosecute, you cannot prosecute," Sommer continued. The judge reiterated to everyone involved that a May 3 preliminary examination is coming up. She gave Carmack-Altwies a deadline to submit a brief by March 31 because New Mexico law does at least allow a district attorney to hire a private lawyer to help on a contract basis. The next hearing on the case was scheduled for May 31.

Since filing criminal charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed in late January, things have not gone Carmack-Altwies' way. In February, Baldwin's team was successful in having his charges amended. He still faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter, but the firearms enhancement was dropped because it took effect seven months after the October 2021 shooting. If convicted, Baldwin now faces 18 months in prison, not five years.

Baldwin also pushed for Reeb, a Republican member of the New Mexico legislature, to be dropped from the case. His legal team argued that her involvement in the case was politically motivated. Reeb later resigned on her own after spending months working on the case. This was a major loss for Carmack-Altwies, who told the judge Monday that there were "not enough prosecutors" left in New Mexico, which is why she wanted to hire outside counsel.

While Baldwin's team did not object to Carmack-Altwies' motion to bring in a new special prosecutor, Gutierrez Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, argued that Carmack-Altwies should resign if she wants another prosecutor to handle the case. Bowles accused the district attorney of trying to bolster the case because of Baldwin's fame, which could put Gutierrez Reed at a disadvantage because she doesn't have the same resources the actor does. Carmack-Alwies insisted this was not the case, reports the Times. She wanted to stay involved in the case "for the public policy and public accountability."

"The District Attorney continues to evaluate all available options for prosecuting the Rust case," a spokesperson for Carmack-Altwies' office told Deadline. "Securing justice for Halyna Hutchins remains the priority and will be at the heart of any decision the District Attorney makes on how best to proceed."