A pair of veteran New Mexico attorneys will serve as special prosecutors in the “Rust” movie shooting case, 1st Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced Wednesday.
Albuquerque attorneys Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis will serve as special prosecutors in the criminal case against actor Alec Baldwin in the October 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The appointments come two weeks after former special prosecutor Andrea Reeb stepped down on March 14.
“With the appointment of new special prosecutors, Carmack-Altwies will step aside from personally prosecuting the ‘Rust’ case, allowing her to focus on the broader public safety needs in New Mexico’s First Judicial District,” the DA’s office said in a written statement issued Wednesday.
State District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer on Monday ruled that under New Mexico law, a district attorney who appoints a special prosecutor should not serve as co-counsel in the case. Carmack-Altwies had sought the judge’s approval to co-prosecute the case.
“Carmack-Altwies will continue her record of prosecuting drunken drivers, collaborating with local law enforcement, increasing diversion efforts and securing convictions against the most dangerous and prolific offenders,” the statement said.
Baldwin and movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and fines.
The shooting occurred while Baldwin and Hutchins were rehearsing a scene on the “Rust” movie set near Santa Fe. Baldwin was holding a gun that discharged on the movie set, killing Hutchins.
Baldwin’s attorneys filed a motion in February asking the judge to disqualify Reeb as special prosecutor. The resignation left in question who would prosecute the case with Baldwin’s preliminary hearing scheduled to begin May 3.
Baldwin’s attorneys alleged that Reeb — a Republican state representative from Clovis — violated the state Constitution’s separation-of-powers provision by serving as both a prosecutor and a legislator.