On Tuesday, the special prosecutor in Alec Baldwin’s Rust shooting trial stepped down so “the prosecution can focus on the evidence and the facts.”
Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb’s announcement follows Baldwin’s team’s request to have her dismissed last month.
Baldwin’s team cited Reeb’s status as a Republican member of New Mexico’s House of Representatives and referred to her position as special prosecutor as “unconstitutional.”
The former special prosecutor was elected to office in November 2022 and subsequently assumed office in January.
“After much reflection, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case. My priority in this case — and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career — has been justice for the victim,” Reeb’s office of New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney told Yahoo Entertainment.
“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 continued. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
Alec Baldwin scores another win in 'Rust' case as special prosecutor resigns https://t.co/Sgalk5lFV0
— Yahoo Entertainment (@YahooEnt) March 15, 2023
Baldwin’s attorney did not immediately respond for comment, the outlet reported.
Last week, Baldwin’s team claimed New Mexico state authorities destroyed the firearm used in the shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, CNBC reported.
“The defense’s unexpected statement in the status hearing today that the gun had been destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI’s July 2022 firearms testing report that said damage was done to internal components of the gun during the FBI’s functionality testing,” said spokeswoman for the New Mexico First District Attorney Heather Brewer, refuting Baldwin’s legal team’s claim.
“The gun still exists and can be used as evidence,” she said.
Prosecutors also downgraded one of Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter charges including a firearm enhancement, which carried a maximum sentence of five years if convicted. Baldwin’s team referred to the charge as “an unconstitutional and legal error” to charge the actor “under a statute that did not exist under the state of the accident.”
“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set,” Brewer said.
“The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
Rust is resuming production at Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana, according to reports.
Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are facing one count of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of 18 months in prison.