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One week after the official’s sudden resignation, actor Alec Baldwin’s attorneys have not dialed back their criticisms of now-former special prosecutor Andrea Reeb.
“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,” attorney Luke Nikas wrote in a scathing, 8-page letter.
In effect, the letter withdraws their pending motion to disqualify Reed, arguing that the New Mexico Constitution does not allow her to have any judicial role while in the legislative branch. Reed’s resignation makes the issue now moot, but Baldwin’s letter does not simply let bygones be bygones.
Citing The New York Times, the letter makes note of “troubling” emails exchanged between Reeb and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
“At some point though, I’d at least like to get out there that I am assisting you… as it might help in my campaign lol,” Reeb reportedly wrote before her election to the state’s House of Representatives.
“I am intending to either introduce you or send it in a press release when we get the investigation!” Carmack-Altwies, a Democrat, replied.
Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed both faces manslaughter charges in connection with Halyna Hutchins’s fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” on Oct. 21, 2021.
Before turning to the merits of the case, Baldwin’s legal team has scored key victories on two procedural matters. Prosecutors originally wanted to apply a firearm enhancement that could have put Baldwin and his co-defendant behind bars for five years, but the government dropped that plan after Baldwin’s legal team noted that the statute was amended after the shooting.
That “elementary legal error,” Baldwin’s lawyers said, made the enhancement invalid under the Constitution’s Ex Post Facto clause. Prosecutors retreated before the question was adjudicated.
After that victory, Baldwin’s legal team said prosecutors made “inappropriate statements” to the press. They suggested that Baldwin’s lawyers filed the motion to inflate their “billable hours.”
“The statements each implied Mr. Baldwin’s guilt, yet none of the statements ‘explain[ed] that the charge is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,’ as required by the Rules of Professional Conduct,” the defense’s letter states. “In addition, Representative Reeb made comments in television interviews that also implied Mr. Baldwin’s guilt without noting the presumption of innocence and without any conceivable law enforcement justification.”
Reeb made the rounds with Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Baldwin’s legal team, which cited the appearances in legal briefs.
Nikas noted that Reeb’s exit was “constitutionally compelled,” but he said that she made another statement that implied Baldwin’s guilt.
Reeb said in a statement that 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.”
Baldwin did not request any action by the court in response to these statements, but his lawyers suggested that they may in the future.
“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,” the letter states.
A representative for the District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
Read Baldwin’s latest defense letter here.
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