Defense attorneys for actor Alec Baldwin are seeking to disqualify the special prosecutor in the criminal case against him stemming from the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set.
In a motion filed on Tuesday in a district court in Santa Fe, Baldwin’s legal team said Andrea Reeb’s position as a state politician prohibits her under state law from holding any authority in a judicial capacity.
Reeb is “exercising either the executive power or the judicial power and her continued service as a special prosecutor is unconstitutional”, Baldwin’s team argued in the motion.
Reeb, a Republican, was elected to the state house of representatives in November and started her term last month.
The office of Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies dismissed the idea that Reeb would be disqualified. In a statement, the office characterized the motion as nothing but a legal diversion.
“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,” the office wrote in the statement.
Baldwin and film-set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are scheduled to make their first court appearance by video conference in late February. Both have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on 21 October 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins as part of a scene when the gun went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza. It turned out the bullet that hit both victims was a live round.
A manslaughter charge can be brought if a defendant is killed while doing something lawful but dangerous and was acting negligently or without caution.
Film production and firearms experts say movie sets probably changed permanently after Hutchins was killed, with her death provoking uproar among workers amid charges of on-set culture putting cost-cutting over safety.