(Headline USA) Alec Baldwin’s legal team filed to disqualify a special prosecutor from his manslaughter case over the fatal Rust shooting, citing a New Mexico law that prohibits state lawmakers from acting as prosecutors.
Prosecutor Andrea Reed was assigned to Baldwin’s case by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office before she was elected to the state House of Representatives in November. But Baldwin’s attorneys argued her oversight of the case is “unconstitutional.”
“The special prosecutor in this case, Andrea Reeb, is a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives. Under Section 1 of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution, however, a sitting member of the Legislature may not ‘exercise any powers properly belonging’ to either the executive or judicial branch,” the motion states.
Reed’s position is a violation of the state constitution’s separation of powers provision, Baldwin’s attorneys argued, accusing Reed of potentially making “prosecutorial decisions that serve her legislative interests.”
“Representative Reed is therefore either the executive power or the judicial power, and her service as a special prosecutor is unconstitutional,” they wrote. “She must be disqualified.”
Baldwin has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust. He has denied any wrongdoing, insisting that he did not pull the trigger of the gun. His attorneys also insisted that the criminal charges against him are unjust.
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, said. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”