A special prosecutor in the involuntary manslaughter case against actor Alec Baldwin announced her resignation Tuesday, weeks after Baldwin’s legal team said her participation was unconstitutional.
In a statement, Andrea Reeb, who is also a New Mexico state representative, said that the decision to step down from the “Rust” prosecution was difficult and that she made it after “much reflection.”
“My priority in this case — and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career — has been justice for the victim,” she said. “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.”
Baldwin was charged this year in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021, on the set of the Western movie “Rust.”
He has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty last month.
Prosecutors have accused Baldwin of skipping required firearms training and creating a “climate of recklessness” before he opened fire during a rehearsal, wounding director Joel Souza and killing Hutchins.
Baldwin showed a “complete disregard for basic protocols,” Reed said in Tuesday’s statement. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
Baldwin’s lawyers filed a motion last month pointing to the state’s constitution and arguing Reeb should be barred from prosecuting the case.
“As a special prosecutor, Representative Reeb is vested by statute with ‘all the powers and duties’ of a district attorney, who is considered to be a member of either the judicial or executive branch of the New Mexico government,” the defense team said in a filing.
“Representative Reeb is therefore exercising either the executive power or the judicial power, and her continued service as a special prosecutor is unconstitutional,” the lawyers said.
A lawyer for Baldwin declined to comment Tuesday and pointed to an earlier filing saying there was “no question” Reeb had violated the constitution’s separation-of-powers provision.
The remaining prosecutor on the case, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, had dismissed the request from Baldwin’s lawyers, suggesting in a statement last month that the move was a distraction.
A weapons supervisor for “Rust,” Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter and pleaded not guilty.
She and Baldwin face 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine if they are convicted.