Rust fatal shooting: Alec Baldwin’s legal team seeks to disqualify special prosecutor

US News

Alec Baldwin’s lawyers have filed to disqualify the special prosecutor on the Rust case due to, what they call, her “unconstitutional” role as a politician.

Baldwin, 64, is due to make his first appearance in a US court on 24 February over the death of Halyna Hutchins.

He will face two counts of involuntary manslaughter alongside the film’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

Last year, Andrea Reeb was brought in to assist on the case, and in November she was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives.

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In a motion filed on Tuesday, Baldwin‘s lawyers argue that the state’s constitution prohibits Ms Reeb from serving as both a prosecutor and as a state lawmaker.

They say that her position as someone who decides on legislation could influence her decisions as a prosecutor, calling her continued position as a special prosecutor “unconstitutional”.

The motion reads: “Representative Reeb is not constitutionally permitted to serve simultaneously as a legislator and a special prosecutor.

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“Doing so vests two core powers of different branches – legislating and prosecuting – in the same person and is thus barred by the plain language of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution.”

The arraignment hearing is set to take place at 10am local time (5pm GMT) at the Santa Fe Magistrates Court. The PA news agency understands Baldwin’s appearance will likely be via video link.

Following the hearing, during which Baldwin will file a guilty or not guilty plea, Rust director Joel Souza and lighting director Serge Svetnoy are two of over 40 witnesses that may be called to testify at the preliminary hearing.

This will occur at a later date and decide whether there is enough evidence for Baldwin to stand trial.

Mr Souza was also injured during the incident on the set in October 2021, but no charges will be filed over the non-fatal shooting.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is seen in this undated handout photo received by Reuters on October 23, 2021. Mandatory credit SWEN STUDIOS/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Halyna Hutchins. Pic: Swen Studios

In a statement of probable cause that was filed along with the charges against Baldwin, the district attorney alleged the actor had shown “wilful disregard” for the safety of others in the days leading up to the incident.

They added that he had not been present for “mandatory” firearms training, instead undergoing a 30-minute on-set session, during which he was distracted by a phone call to his family.

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