Special Prosecutor Recuses Herself From Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ Case
Andrea Reeb recused herself as special prosecutor in the “Rust” case against actor Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a New Mexico movie set.
“My priority in this case—and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career—has been justice for the victim,” Reeb said in a statement shared by the office of New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney.
“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.”
Reeb’s statement also addressed concerns about her dual roles as a legislator and prosecutor, stating that she would not allow questions about her serving as a legislator and prosecutor “to cloud the real issue at hand.”
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.
Lawyers Sought to Disqualify Reeb
In February, Baldwin’s lawyers argued in a motion that Reeb should be disqualified because, under New Mexico’s constitution, one cannot serve as a lawmaker and a prosecuting attorney at the same time.
“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,” wrote Luke Nikas, a defense attorney for Baldwin.
“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,” he continued.
The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office first dismissed the motion 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.”
Reeb’s recusal raises questions about the future of the case against Baldwin.
One Charge Dropped
This is the second major setback in the case after Reeb previously dropped a firearms enhancement charge, which carried a five-year prison sentence, on Feb. 20.
The decision to drop that charge came after Baldwin’s legal team argued in a Feb. 10 motion that Reeb committed “a basic legal error” by charging Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that “did not exist on the date of the accident.” The current version of the law went into effect in May 2022.
After over a year of investigation into the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Alec Baldwin was charged on Jan. 31. Hutchins was fatally shot on Oct. 21, 2021, during the rehearsal of a gunfight scene when Baldwin pointed a prop gun in the direction of her and film director Joel Souza.
The charges named Baldwin as both an actor and producer on the movie, and a probable cause statement accompanying the charges states that evidence shows “no less than a dozen acts, or omissions of recklessness,” occurred in the time leading up to the shooting. The statement also notes that Baldwin handled the firearm recklessly.
Souza was also wounded in the shooting, but prosecutors did not file charges against him.
The Epoch Times contacted Reeb for comment.
Bill Pan contributed to this report.