Alec Baldwin’s legal team scored a pre-trial victory yesterday when special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, stepped down from her role in the prosecution following a request from the defense to disqualify her.
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Baldwin’s team made the request last month based on a conflict of interest that goes against constitutional provisions which prevent the mixing of powers between different branches of government. Reeb is a former prosecutor who won a state representative seat after her appointment as the special prosecutor in the Baldwin trial.
Reeb, who has sponsored several criminal justice initiatives including enhanced punishments for firearms violations, issued a statement on Tuesday from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Facebook page saying she will step down to ensure justice is served in the case.
“After much reflection, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the ‘Rust’ case,” Reed said in a statement. My priority in this case—and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career—has been justice for the victim.”
This incident isn’t the first time Reeb has had to professionally recuse herself. The Republican from Clovis steered clear of voting on public spending to prosecute Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed. She was excused from a House floor vote in February on a proposed state budget that includes $360,000 for special prosecution expenses in the fatal film-set shooting.
According to the statement, Reeb is concerned that her role could be a distraction in the case.
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“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 continued. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed a notification in state district court and declined further comment.
Baldwin faces charges of involuntary manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a New Mexico film set in October 2021. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and fines. Baldwin and weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have pleaded not guilty.
Hutchins died on October 21, 2021, after being wounded during rehearsals for “Rust.” Baldwin was pointing a handgun at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza.
Prosecutors say assistant director David Halls, who oversaw safety on set, has signed an agreement to plead guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in May to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to proceed to a trial.
This development is the second pre-trial win for Baldwin following the downgrading of his charges last month. The gun enhancement charge violated a law that had not been passed at the time of the incident.
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