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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Special counsel resigns in Alec Baldwin case

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A special prosecutor who is also a state legislator is resigning from her role in the manslaughter case against actor Alec Baldwin.

Baldwin’s legal team sought in February to disqualify special counsel and Republican state Rep. Andrea Ribb of Clovis under a constitutional provision that guarantees the separation of powers between different branches of government.

Ribb said in a statement Tuesday that she “will not let questions about my role as a lawmaker and prosecutor overshadow the real issues at hand.”

“It was clear that the best way I could ensure justice in this case was to step down so the prosecution could focus on the evidence and the facts,” Rieb said.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed a notice in state district court and declined further comment.

Baldwin and arms supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a fine.

Hutchins died shortly after he was injured during a rehearsal at a ranch in suburban Santa Fe on October 21, 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to proceed to trial.

Assistant director David Halls, who oversaw security on set, has signed an agreement pleading guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, prosecutors said.

As a lawmaker, Rieb launched several criminal justice initiatives, including tougher penalties for gun offenses.

Republicans from Clovis avoided vote on public spending to sue Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed.

In February, the House of Representatives voted on a proposed state budget that would include $360,000 for special prosecution costs during the shooting of the deadly movie scene.

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