The special prosecutor in Alec Baldwin’s US case has announced that he will step down from the case to ensure his involvement does not “obfuscate the real issue at hand”.
In a statement released Tuesday by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office, Andrea Reeb said the decision was “the best way to ensure justice is served in this case.”
The Hollywood actor faces two manslaughter charges over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust in October 2021.
He pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Baldwin’s attorneys previously argued that Ms. Reeb’s involvement in the case was “unconstitutional,” due to her elected position in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
They said his position was a violation of the separation of powers provision of the state constitution and that he could “make judicial decisions that served his legislative interests.”
Despite the support of Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, Ms. Reeb announced her decision to step back Tuesday.
“After much deliberation, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case,” the District Attorney’s office said in a statement.
“My priority in this case – and in all cases I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career – has been justice for the victim.
“However, it has become clear that the best way to ensure justice is served in this case is to step down so that the prosecution can focus on the evidence and facts, which clearly show a complete disregard for the basic safety protocols that led to the death of Halyna Hutchins.
“I will not allow questions about my service as a lawmaker and prosecutor to obscure the real issue at hand.”
The announcement comes a week after the district attorney described the motion to eject Ms. Reeb from the case as based on a “new theory that has no support in New Mexico statutes or case law.”
In a response filing, the district attorney said the state constitution has provided a number of safeguards against lawmakers interfering with the outcome of pending court cases.
“Any attempt by Ms. Reeb as a legislator to influence the outcome of this process would be completely ineffective,” the filing said.
“The disqualification of a special prosecutor on constitutional grounds is a severe remedy and cannot be supported by the fanciful but unsupported theories set forth in the defendant’s motion.”
Baldwin is expected to appear in court on May 3 for a two-week preliminary hearing, during which it will be decided whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.