Alec Baldwin asks court to DISQUALIFY special prosecutor in manslaughter case
Alec Baldwin has asked that the special prosecutor handling his manslaughter case be disqualified because of her status as a Republican lawmaker.
Baldwin, who faces up to five years in prison if convicted in the highly publicized trial, said Andrea Reeb’s nomination was “unconstitutional” because she sits in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
A court petition filed on behalf of the Hollywood star – a Democratic and vocal critic of Donald Trump – says she ‘must’ be removed from the case.
Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after being shot with live ammunition on the set of her film Rust in October 2021.
Reeb, a Republican, sensationally launched the accusation last month, stating emphatically that if not for the actions of Baldwin and others on set, “Hutchins would be alive today.”
Now, Baldwin’s team alleges Reeb’s appointment is a violation of the New Mexico constitution, which prohibits the mixing of two branches of government.
Alec Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith are facing two manslaughter charges following the incident in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office/PA)
Baldwin’s team decided to disqualify special prosecutor Andrea Reeb, pictured, saying her appointment was ‘unconstitutional’
He adds that she could face “pressure” to make a decision that serves her “legislative interests”.
The argument is constitutional and not politically motivated, his team said.
“Under Section 1 of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution, however, a sitting member of the Legislative Assembly may not ‘exercise any power properly belonging’ to the executive or to the judiciary,” a said Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, in the motion.
“As a special prosecutor, Representative Reeb is vested by law with ‘all the powers and duties’ of a district attorney, who is deemed to be a member of the judicial or executive branch of government in New Mexico.
“The legal issue is not close, it must be disqualified.”
Baldwin is due in court for the first time on February 24.
Reeb was elected district attorney in Mexico in 2014 before being elected to the New Mexico House of Representative in November 2022.
She took office at the beginning of this year.
She has also been asked to act as a special prosecutor, which involves working independently in a criminal investigation, identifying potential conflicts of interest and facilitating expertise.
Last month, she denied that her prosecutorial decisions were not influenced by politics.
“Everyone is equal before the law. It doesn’t matter that he’s a liberal Democrat and I’m a conservative Republican,’ she told CNN.
“My job has always been to prosecute crimes, hold defendants accountable and help victims. In this case, it is no different.
But the motion filed by Baldwin’s team argues that the high public interest in the case as well as Reeb’s political platform could distort its objectivity.
“A prosecutor who also serves as a legislator might face pressure to make prosecutorial decisions that serve his or her legislative interests, such as prosecuting a high-profile defendant associated with an opposing faction within the legislature, even in the face of to conflicting evidence or law,” he says. .
“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 criminal proceedings.”
He also said it would set an alarming precedent in criminal courts, as would-be district attorneys could seek to ‘curry favor’ with lawmakers – who control their budgets – by appointing them to high-profile cases.
In a footnote, Baldwin referenced a New Mexico lawmaker, Jason Harper, who called the charges against him a “frivolous use of taxpayers’ money and a waste of time.”
The same footnote raises other criticisms of the case, such as the actors’ union calling it “false and misinformed.” A CNN legal analyst added that it was “misguided.”
Baldwin faces charges in Hutchins’ death alongside gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who faced identical charges, and assistant manager David Halls, who pleaded for careless use of a weapon deadly.
Prosecutors previously alleged that Baldwin’s “reckless departure from known standards, practices and protocols” directly caused the fatal incident.
It is alleged that the actor showed a “willful disregard” for the safety of others on set in New Mexico.
Baldwin was not present for the “mandatory” firearms training, but instead attended a 30-minute session on set, during which he was distracted by a phone call to his family, the report said. AD.