Former ‘Rust’ Prosecutor Believed Joining Case ‘Might Help’ Her State Legislature Campaign, Emails Show
Andrea Reeb, the New Mexico state representative who recently stepped down as special prosecutor on the upcoming “Rust” criminal trial against Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, wrote in emails sent to the Santa Fe district attorney last fall and acquired by The New York Times that she believed working on the case could help her electoral campaign.
Reeb was selected by DA Mary Carmack-Altwies last June to handle criminal charges related to the accidental death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin, the actor-producer who was holding the gun that fired and killed Hutchins, and Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer for “Rust,” both face charges of involuntary manslaughter that, if convicted, could come with an 18-month prison sentence.
At the time, Reeb was also running as a Republican for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives in the November midterm elections. New emails, which were acquired by the New York Times via a request under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act, showed that Reeb told Carmack-Altwies when she was hired that she understood the DA’s decision not to inform the press about her appointment.
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“At some point though,” Reeb wrote, “I’d at least like to get out there that I am assisting you … as it might help in my campaign lol.”
Reeb, who was running in a solid GOP-controlled district, easily won her election and was part of the team that brought the involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed while striking a plea deal with “Rust” assistant director David Halls.
But Reeb’s position as prosecutor was challenged by Baldwin’s attorneys, who argued that her double role as elected legislator and special prosecutor was a violation of New Mexico’s state constitution as she was holding power in two different legislative branches. Reeb was also criticized by legal experts for her decision to bring an “enhancement charge” against Baldwin, which could have raised his prison sentence if convicted to five years but which was based in state law that was passed after Hutchins’ death occurred.
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The enhancement charge was dropped, and this past week Reeb announced that she would step down from the case, saying that she believed her presence was becoming too much of a distraction as pre-trial hearings continued.
“I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand,” Reeb said in a statement announcing her departure from the case.
In a statement to the Times, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles said that the uncovered emails show a “troubling picture of a prosecution that worried less about the law and facts than they did about wanting the limelight for personal political purposes.”
TheWrap has reached out to the New Mexico DA’s office for comment.
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