Alec Baldwin Trashes ‘Rust’ D.A. For Threatening His “Right To A Fair Trial” Over Fatal Movie Shooting

Looking at potentially months before a trial even begins in Alec Baldwin’s criminal case over the October 2021 shooting death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the actor is now accusing prosecutors of violating his “constitutional rights.”

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“The government’s conduct represented a disregard of its ethical duties, and it has threatened Mr. Baldwin’s right to a fair trial,” reads a filing by Baldwin’s New York City- and Dallas-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan defense team (read it here).

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Placed in the docket Tuesday in New Mexico, the latest swipe at prosecutors cites statements made by Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies’ office and now-departed special prosecutor Andrea Reeb about the indie Western’s star/producer’s “gross negligence and a reckless disregard for safety on the Rust film set” and more.

Crawling towards a May 3 preliminary examination, aka minitrial, the case against Baldwin and co-defendant and ex-Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed appears wounded and dwindling by 1,000 paper cuts. Despite several public salvos in the past and recent retreats, the D.A.’s office had no comment today on the latest filing by Baldwin’s team.

Taking more than a year after Hutchins’ killing to finally charge Baldwin and Reed in late January with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, the D.A. on February 20 withdrew an ill-conceived firearm enhancement that came with a five-year prison stint after defense attorneys insisted it was “unconstitutional.

As it stands, Baldwin and Reed are looking at a maximum of 18 months behind bars and around $5,000 in fines if a jury delivers guilty verdicts. Both have pleaded not guilty.

After coming up short in a February 24 attempt to block Reed’s request to possess a gun in her home for self-defense, Carmack-Altwies found her office on what was eventually the losing side of a partisan brawl by any other name.

The D.A. initially defended the appointment last summer of Reeb, the ex-district attorney for New Mexico’s Ninth Judicial District, to Rust special prosecutor after February 7 calls for her disqualification came from the defense. Facing protestations of “unconstitutionally” and conflict of interest for being a GOP member of the state legislature, Reeb decided to jump before she was pushed. On March 14, two weeks before a hearing on well-known Democrat Baldwin’s disqualification motion, Reeb announced she had “made the difficult decision to step down as special prosecutor in the Rust case.”

If you thought that was the end of this for now, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to Team Baldwin’s attack-on-all-sides strategy. In the Tuesday filing, the Luke Nikas-led defense jumped on revelations from the New York Times that Reeb asked Carmack-Altwies last June to “publicize the fact that she was working on the case in order to advance her political career,” as the filing paraphrases. Republican Reeb at the time was running to become a New Mexico state representative in November’s midterms.

In the weeks before Reeb was formally named special prosecutor, the D.A. replied via email to Reeb’s political request with: “I am intending to either introduce you or send it in a press release when we get the investigation.”

“Representative Reeb’s prosecution of this case against Mr. Baldwin to advance her political career is a further abuse of the system and yet another violation of Mr. Baldwin’s constitutional rights,” said the defendant in this week’s filing.

For the time being, Baldwin’s team agrees that the criminal case can go forward with Carmack-Altwies and an as-yet-unannounced “properly appointed” special prosecutor sharing duties. Still, laying the groundwork for another attack, the defense document from Quinn Emanuel and Albuquerque-based Bailey, LeBlanc & Lane PC went on say:

Given Representative Reeb’s resignation, which was constitutionally compelled, Mr. Baldwin withdraws the Disqualification Motion as moot. But Mr. Baldwin does not waive the rights to raise the disqualification issue in the future or to otherwise challenge the prosecution as a whole on the grounds that the State’s conduct to date-including evidence that Reeb charged the case to advance her political career, the inclusion of the unlawful firearm enhancement, the State’s improper and prejudicial public statements, and Representative Reeb’s principal role in the investigation and prosecution-has violated Mr. Baldwin’s constitutional rights.

After an extensive and FBI-assisted investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office was released in November 2022, Baldwin and Rust armorer Reed were formally charged by the Santa Fe D.A. on January 31 over the October 21, 2021 death of Hutchins on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set just outside Santa Fe. Rust director Joel Souza was wounded in the shooting but recovered.

Bonanza Creek Ranch
Bonanza Creek Ranch

A resurrected Rust is supposedly going into production in Montana on April 20, as Deadline exclusively reported on March 16. That Rust 2.0 will star Baldwin, be directed by Souza and have Hutchins’ widower Matthew Hutchins as an executive producer. Along with various Rust crew members and law enforcement officials, Matthew Hutchins is currently on the D.A.’s witness list for the two-week minitrial set to start May 3 in Santa Fe.

Coming out of what was already an apparently troubled set, Hutchins’ death has seen Baldwin sued and countersuing in civil cases from Rust crew members in both New Mexico and California. While a wrongful-death suit from Matthew Hutchins was settled and dropped in October 2022, Halyna Hutchins’ Ukrainian-based parents and sisters took Baldwin and fellow producers to court in L.A. on February 9 for negligence.

With at least one civil case now paused for the criminal case in New Mexico, the death of Halyna Hutchins will be before the courts for years to come, with Judge Mary Marlow Sommer to determine in May whether there is enough evidence to move the criminal case forward to trial.

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