The special prosecutor in the Alec Baldwin involuntary manslaughter trial has quit the case.
Andrea Reeb announced Tuesday that she would be voluntarily stepping down, following a motion filed by the actor’s attorney that asked the judge to remove her over her separate political job as a member of New Mexico’s state legislature.
The case will still move forward, but it’s unclear who will replace Reeb, a Republican who was elected to the 64th district in the state’s house of representatives. Her resignation was the second major setback for prosecutors. In February, they had to withdraw a “firearm enhancement” charge that would have carried a mandatory five-year prison sentence because the law was passed after the October 2021 shooting on the set of the western drama Rust that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin and prop armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were both facing this additional charge as they faced trial for involuntary manslaughter. The film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who was responsible for safety on set, accepted a plea bargain for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. He received a suspended sentence and six months of probation.
In her statement, Reeb, who was a lifelong prosecutor before being elected to the state legislature last November, said she was resigning to avoid being a distraction: “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 attorneys sought her removal by citing Article III of New Mexico’s constitution, which restricts members of one branch of government, such as the state legislature, from serving in another, such as the judicial. They declined to comment for this story.
The Santa Fe District Attorney’s office says they have no information about who might fill Reeb’s vacancy.