Alec Baldwin has filed a motion to disqualify the special prosecutor assigned to take him to task regarding his accused involuntary manslaughter of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the grounds that her right-leaning political affiliation makes her appointment unconstitutional by New Mexico law.
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Appointed as the state’s prosecutor in Baldwin’s case in August 2022, Andrea Reeb is an attorney and Republican member of the New Mexico House of Representatives who, according to her personal website, currently holds a “97 percent conviction rate” – a statistic which presumably played a large part in the actor’s decision to jump the gun and seek her disqualification.
“Under Section 1 of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution, a sitting member of the Legislature may not ‘exercise any powers properly belonging’ to either the executive or judicial branch,” reads the motion, as filed by Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas.
It continues, “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.”
Baldwin’s motion further alleges that Reeba’s “potential influence on her colleagues in the Legislature could thwart any efforts to legislatively foreclose a prosecution that has been widely criticized as unjust and unprecedented.”
“Even if she recuses from votes on her own compensation, her clout with her colleagues on other matters could (wittingly or not) encourage them to maintain funding for her position,” denounces the motion. “Were the arrangement here approved by the courts, future District Attorneys could seek to curry favor with legislators who control their budgets by appointing them to high-profile cases—distorting the legislative process.”
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In the motion’s footnote, Baldwin would go on to suggest that Reeb could potentially be pressured into making prosecutorial decisions that benefit her own “legislative interests,” including “prosecuting a prominent defendant associated with an opposing faction within the Legislature even in the face of conflicting evidence or law.”
“And even if she does not allow her legislative interests to influence her prosecutorial choices, the perception of bias could diminish public confidence in the fairness of the criminal process,” the argument concludes. “The legal question is not a close one. She must be disqualified.”
Formally and criminally charged on January 19th, both Baldwin and Rust armourer Hannah Gurierrez-Reed are accused of involuntary manslaughter and ‘involuntary mandslaughter in the commission of a lawful act’ in relation to Hutchins’ tragic death.
“The first rule of gun safety is never to point a gun at someone you don’t intend on shooting,” said Santa Fe District Attorney’s office special investigator Robert Schilling, who also noted that the actor should have assumed the gun he was handed contained live rounds.
Schilling also pointed out how Baldwin neglected to undergo “required firearms training prior to the commencement of filming,” even “after [Gutierrez-Reed] requested more training.”
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Though Baldwin previous claimed during an interview with now-former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo that his role as a producer for Rust precluded him from being held legally responsible for the killing of Hutchins, as per Schilling, this is not the case.
“As the producer of a firearm intense film, evidence shows that Baldwin allowed, through acts or omissions, the hiring of inexperienced and unqualified [Gutierrez-Reed] for this production, failed to mitigate or establish more precautions to protect against [Gutierrez-Reed’s] inexperience, or failed to demand the minimum safety standards, protocols, and requirements on set,” said Schilling.
In regards to Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed’s charge of involuntary manslaughter, as per Carmack-Altwies, “for this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence.”
“Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine,” she added. “This charge also includes the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would likely merge as a matter of law.”
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As for their second charge of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, the Santa Fe DA explained that “this charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.”
“This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine,” she concluded. “This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.”
NEXT: Alec Baldwin Formally Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter For The Killing Of ‘Rust’ Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins