Special Prosecutor in Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Movie Shooting Case Steps Down

The special prosecutor picked by the Santa Fe district attorney to handle the criminal cases in the fatal “Rust” movie shooting announced Tuesday she was stepping down from the role.

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the on set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021, had challenged Andrea Reeb’s role as a special prosecutor because she is also a state lawmaker in the New Mexico House of Representatives. The state constitution says that legislators may not “exercise any powers properly belonging” to the executive or judicial branches of government, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

A hearing on the issue had been set for March 27.

“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, a former district attorney, said in her statement, according to KRQE. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”

A spokesperson for District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis said that paperwork has already been filed to withdraw Reeb, but the office declined to comment further.

Hutchins died during a rehearsal for Baldwin’s western, “Rust,” in 2021. Reeb’s months-long investigation did not determine who loaded live ammunition into the weapon Baldwin was using during the rehearsal, but Carmack-Altwies charged Baldwin and set armorer Hannah Gutierrrez-Reed with manslaughter. She allowed Assistant Director David Halls, who handed the weapon to Baldwin and told him it was safe to use, to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in exchange for a suspended sentence and six months of probation.

Last week, the district attorney dropped a special weapons enhancement she had added to the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed after they noted that the law providing for that enhancement — which would have increased their prison sentences if convicted — was passed after the shooting.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer has scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for May.

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[Featured image: Andrea Reeb/New Mexico Legislature and Alec Baldwin/Charles Sykes/Invision/AP]