Actor Alec Baldwin has dodged a bullet in his legal efforts to avoid prison time for the accidental shooting death of a movie set staffer.
Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb from the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office has voluntarily stepped down from the case to hold Baldwin accountable for the death of Halyna Hutchins after Baldwin pointed and allegedly fired a loaded gun at the cinematographer after being told the gun did not hold live rounds.
Baldwin’s attorney in February filed a motion to dismiss Reeb relating her position in the New Mexico state legislature, arguing that it would be unconstitutional for a lawmaker to serve in another branch of state government.
Reeb on Tuesday released a statement to Deadline appearing to acknowledge the impropriety of wearing multiple hats in a high-profile case that is testing the limits for prosecuting Hollywood stars under equal justice before the law:
“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,” stated Reeb.
Two other members of the movie set staff are facing charges resulting from the death of Hutchins. Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter while Assistant Director Dave Hall has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge.
Baldwin, who sat for a primetime interview just weeks after the incident, maintained he did not pull the trigger which fired the shot killing Hutchins. The FBI disagreed in its assessment though has been unable to explain how live ammunition made its way into the gun’s chamber.