The special prosecutor in Alec Baldwin’s Rust shooting case has made the “difficult decision” to step down from her position.
The 64-year-old actor - who is facing involuntary manslaughter charges over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchens on the set of the production - previously filed a request asking the court to remove Andrea Reeb from her position, arguing her appointment was “unconstitutional” because she is a current member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, but the state lawmaker has now decided to walk away voluntarily to allow the prosecution to “focus on the evidence and the facts”.
The office of New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies released a statement on behalf of Reeb, which read: “After much reflection, I have made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case.
“My priority in this case - and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career - has been justice for the victim.
“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, which clearly show a complete disregard for basic safety protocols led to the death of Halyna Hutchins.
“I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”
Baldwin’s lawyers argued last month that the Republican cannot be both special prosecutor and a state lawmaker because of the state constitution’s separation of powers provision.
Their motion stated: “Representative Reeb is not constitutionally permitted to serve simultaneously as a legislator and a special prosecutor.
“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 lawyers went on to argue that, should Reeb be allowed to hold both positions, “Future District Attorneys could seek to curry favour with legislators who control their budgets by appointing them to high-profile cases”, which would lead to “distorting the legislative process.”
Reeb was brought on to the case before being elected to the House of Representatives last November.
Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Both he and the production’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, face up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $5000 (NZ$8000) if convicted.
The 30 Rock actor has repeatedly insisted he didn’t pull the trigger on the prop gun he used during rehearsal, which ultimately discharged a live bullet, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.