2 special prosecutors appointed in Alec Baldwin 'Rust' case after previous prosecutor steps down

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Two attorneys were appointed special prosecutors Wednesday in the involuntary manslaughter case against actor Alec Baldwin after the previous special prosecutor resigned this month, authorities said.

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies appointed attorneys Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis to serve as special prosecutors, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Baldwin was charged this year in cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ fatal shooting on Oct. 21, 2021, on the New Mexico set of the Western movie “Rust.”

He has denied wrongdoing, and he pleaded not guilty last month.

“Morrissey’s and Lewis’ extensive experience and trial expertise will allow the state to pursue justice for Halyna Hutchins and ensure that in New Mexico everyone is held accountable under the law,” the statement said.

Prosecutors have accused Baldwin of skipping required firearms training and creating a “climate of recklessness” before he opened fire during a rehearsal, wounding director Joel Souza and killing Hutchins.

“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," said Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office.

Carmack-Altwies said in a statement: “My responsibility to the people of the First Judicial District is greater than any one case, which is why I have chosen to appoint a special prosecutor in the ‘Rust’ case. Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis will unflinchingly pursue justice in the death of Halyna Hutchins on behalf of the people of First Judicial District.”

Baldwin’s lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Andrea Reeb said this month she was resigning as the special prosecutor only weeks after Baldwin’s legal team said her participation was unconstitutional, citing New Mexico’s separation-of-powers statute.

Baldwin's team also said a politician could be susceptible to undue public pressure, and it filed a motion last month arguing Reeb should be prohibited from prosecuting the case.

In a statement, Reeb, who is also a state representative, said the decision to step down was difficult.

“My priority in this case — and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career — has been justice for the victim,” she said. “However, 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.”

A weapons supervisor for “Rust,” Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter and has pleaded not guilty.

If they are convicted, she and Baldwin face 18 months in prison and $5,000 fines.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com