Alec Baldwin’s Attorney Seeks to Disqualify Special Prosecutor in Charge of ‘Rust’ Shooting Case

By Bill Pan
Bill Pan
Bill Pan
Bill Pan is a reporter for The Epoch Times.
February 7, 2023Updated: February 7, 2023

Alec Baldwin’s legal team is trying to disqualify the special prosecutor who investigated him over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a New Mexico movie set.

The special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, was elected last year to the New Mexico House of Representatives as a Republican. She assumed office on Jan. 1, months after the First Judicial District put her in charge of Baldwin’s case.

In a motion filed on Tuesday, Baldwin’s lawyers argued that Reeb has to be disqualified because, under New Mexico’s constitution, one cannot serve as a lawmaker and a prosecuting attorney at the same time.

“Under Section 1 of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution … a sitting member of the Legislature may not ‘exercise any powers properly belonging’ to either the executive or judicial branch,” wrote Luke Nikas, a defense attorney for Baldwin.

“As a special prosecutor, Representative Reeb is vested by statute with ‘all the powers and duties’ of a District Attorney, who is considered a member of either the judicial or executive branch of the New Mexico government,” the lawyer added. “Representative Reeb is therefore exercising either the executive power or the judicial power, and her continued service as a special prosecutor is unconstitutional. She must be disqualified.”

In response, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office dismissed it as a distraction tactic.

“Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys can use whatever tactics they want to distract from the fact that Halyna Hutchins died because of gross negligence and a reckless disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set,” a spokesperson for the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “However, the district attorney and the special prosecutor will remain focused on the evidence and on trying this case so that justice is served.”

Baldwin was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Hutchins, court papers show.

The charges were announced on Jan. 31, following more than a year of investigation into the death of 42-year-old Hutchins, a cinematographer who was fatally shot on Oct. 21, 2021, when Baldwin pointed a prop gun in the direction of her and film director Joel Souza while rehearsing a gunfight scene.

A probable cause statement accompanying the charges, which names Baldwin as both an actor and producer on the movie, states: “On the day of the shooting alone, evidence shows that no less than a dozen acts, or omissions of recklessness, occurred in the short time prior to lunch and the time of the shooting, and this does not include the reckless handling of the firearm by Baldwin.”

Souza was also wounded in the shooting. Prosecutors filed no charges against him.

Related Topics