Special prosecutor on Alec Baldwin case steps down over possible conflict

The special prosecutor in the Alec Baldwin shooting case stepped down on Tuesday after defense lawyers in the case moved to disqualify her because of separation of powers concerns. 

The special prosecutor in New Mexico, who is also Republican state Rep. Andrea Reeb, said in a statement that she “will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”

“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,” Reeb said.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed a notification in state district court of Reeb’s recusal, but did not comment on the action.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the case involving the accidental shooting death of Halnya Hutchins, along with weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on the set of the movie “Rust,” which Baldwin was producing and starring in.

The maximum penalty for the charges is 18 months in prison along with fines.

The shooting involved numerous mistakes, including the mixing of live rounds with blank ammunition and Baldwin shooting the gun while it was aimed at someone. Joel Souza, the director, was also wounded by the gun Baldwin shot.

Baldwin has expressed sorrow and remorse over the shooting, but has not taken responsibility for his part in shooting the gun, even though it should have been unloaded.

Passing the buck

A preliminary hearing in May will decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial.

According to prosecutors, assistant director David Halls, who was responsible for safety on set, has agreed to a plea deal for negligent use of a deadly weapon. It’s possible that Halls will testify against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed.

Gutierrez-Reed has claimed that sabotage on the set may have caused the shooting, along with Baldwin’s lack of firearms training, and also said Halls and Baldwin failed to ask her to perform extra firearm checks on the set, according to Reuters.

If anyone on the set can show that protocols were not followed, then someone might be able to be held accountable for the shooting.

No ill intentions

Baldwin may not have meant for anything bad to happen, but if he pointed the gun and shot it when protocols were clear that he was not supposed to do so, then he’s responsible.

That’s why rules exist, to protect people from accidents like this, and ignoring them is exactly why these things sometimes happen.

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