(Headline USA) New Mexico attorneys revealed this week that they dropped a firearm-enhancement charge against actor Alec Baldwin after the gunslinger’s attorneys argued the charge was “unconstitutional.”
Baldwin, 64, was charged last month for his role in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust. His legal team filed a motion in court to dismiss one of the charges against him, arguing that it was based on New Mexico law that did not pass until after the shooting had already happened.
“The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,” a court filing from Baldwin’s lawyers said.
Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office, confirmed the enhancement had been removed from the case against Baldwin.
“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set,” Brewer said. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
Baldwin is still facing charges for involuntary manslaughter, but the decision to drop the enhancement charge could reduce the prison time he could face by at least five years.
Baldwin’s legal team is also seeking to disqualify the special prosecutor assigned by the Santa Fe District Attorney to oversee the case, arguing that her appointment is “unconstitutional” since she was elected to serve in the New Mexico House of Representatives in November.
“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,” they said in a motion.