Embattled Hollywood star Alec Baldwin is reportedly seeking to disqualify the special prosecutor who’s been assigned to handle his involuntary manslaughter case.
On Tuesday his attorney, Luke Nikas, filed a motion arguing that special prosecutor Rep. Andrea Reeb isn’t qualified for the role because she already serves as a Republican 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 reads.
This means someone in the legislative branch may not assume powers meant for the other branches. In other words, a lawmaker can’t also simultaneously be a prosecutor. This is a problem for obvious reasons.
Actor #AlecBaldwin wants to disqualify special prosecutor #AndreaReeb in the “#Rust” case, arguing she cannot serve as a prosecutor and a legislator at the same time. pic.twitter.com/hxuZG5Htu6
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) February 7, 2023
“As a special prosecutor, Representative Reeb is vested by statute with ‘all the powers and duties’ of a District Attorney, who is considered a member of either the judicial or executive branch of the New Mexico government,” the motion explains.
“Representative Reeb is therefore exercising either the executive power or the judicial power, and her continued service as a special prosecutor is unconstitutional. She must be disqualified,” it adds.
The motion continues by explaining why exactly this is an issue.
“Were the arrangement here approved by the courts, future District Attorneys could seek to curry favor with legislators who control their budgets by appointing them to high-profile cases — distorting the legislative process,” it reads.
“A prosecutor who also serves as a legislator could face pressure to make prosecutorial decisions that serve her legislative interests, such as by prosecuting a prominent defendant associated with an opposing faction within the Legislature even in the face of conflicting evidence or law,” it adds.
“In short, there can be no question that Representative Reeb is violating both the plain text and the purpose of the New Mexico Constitution’s separation-of-powers provision by serving simultaneously as a legislator and a prosecutor. She must be removed,” the motion concludes.
In response, the local district attorney’s office issued a statement essentially calling the accusation bull.
“Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys can use whatever tactics they want to distract from the fact that Halyna Hutchins died because of gross negligence and a reckless disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set,” a spokesperson said.
“However, the district attorney and the special prosecutor will remain focused on the evidence and on trying this case so that justice is served,” they added.
Baldwin was charged on Jan. 31st with two counts of involuntary manslaughter as per the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins, who died after an ostensible prop gun in Baldwin’s hands was triggered during a rehearsal.
Today my office formally filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in the…
Posted by First Judicial District Attorney on Tuesday, January 31, 2023
“On the day of the shooting alone, evidence shows that no less than a dozen acts, or omissions of recklessness, occurred in the short time prior to lunch and the time of the shooting, and this does not include the reckless handling of the firearm by Baldwin,” a probable cause statement that accompanied the charges reads.
The charges were filed after a year-long investigation that found, among other things, that Baldwin himself had pulled the trigger.
“Accidental discharge testing determined that the firearm used in the shooting — a .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver — could not have fired without the trigger being pulled,” ABC News reported last year, citing a then-released FBI forensics report.
“With the hammer in the quarter- and half-cock positions, the gun ‘could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger,’ the report stated. With the hammer fully cocked, the gun ‘could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.’”
“With the hammer de-cocked on a loaded chamber, the gun was able to detonate a primer ‘without a pull of the trigger when the hammer was struck directly,’ which is normal for this type of revolver, the report stated.”
In other words, Baldwin pulled the trigger — either by accident or on purpose — of the gun that killed Hutchins as they were recording the since-suspended film “Rust” at a location near La Cienega, New Mexico last October.
This finding contradicted Baldwin’s long-maintained claim that he didn’t pull the trigger.
FBI concludes Alec Baldwin pulled trigger in Rust shooting, criminal charges still a possibility https://t.co/3HhlOeF8NW pic.twitter.com/cGbaSQ68dC
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 14, 2022
Returning to the present, many in the public appear to agree with Baldwin, though admittedly in part because Reeb is a pesky Republican.
Case in point:
@GovMLG I’m embarrassed that my beautiful home state has turned into a clown show. The special prosecutor went on TV said this was clearly an accident, then she said they were charging him. Absolutely ridiculous.
— bear panda (@ManBearPanda17) February 7, 2023
I’m not generally one side with anything else Baldwin does, but I have to say I agree with him on that . I saw her interviewed,she seemed to have an aggressive agenda. I didn’t realize she was GOP lawmaker.
— leslie andrews ☮️ (@heyyolanda50) February 7, 2023
I don’t blame him. They went on Fox News to talk about the indictment. It was a very sad and unprofessional move.
— TLIC (@Tamaraciocci) February 7, 2023
He’s not wrong. She went on Fox News and who knows who else she talked to?
— Meidas_Linda (@Meidas_Linda) February 8, 2023
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