Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Shooting Case Could Benefit From Struggles Within New Mexico’s Court System

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Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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New Mexico’s attorney vacancies are setting back their legal system, which makes way for a huge break for Alec Baldwin’s legal team, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The famous actor’s silent victory is thanks largely in part to an admission made by New Mexico 1st Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, according to The Los Angeles Times. Carmack-Altwies revealed during a hearing on Monday that she is facing serious issues securing prosecutors to try Baldwin’s case. She stated her office is plagued by defections and lacks the ability to properly staff this legal matter. “We are in dire straits,” Carmack-Altwies told Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer during the virtual court hearing, according to The Los Angeles Times. “We do not have sufficient manpower to fully prosecute this [case] by ourselves,” she said.

Carmack-Altwies requested authorization from the judge to hire a new special prosecutor to continue forward with this matter, according to The Los Angeles Times. Sommer was not in favor of the request and indicated she would likely reject the suggestion made by the Santa Fe prosecutor.

Carmack-Altwies restated her inability to move forward in the case against Baldwin and the armorist from the set of “Rust,” Hannah Gutierrez Reed, without additional legal representation, the outlet noted.

Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal on-set shooting that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Labor issues have plagued the New Mexico court system throughout this case. Previous special prosecutor Andrea Reeb resigned from her dual role of prosecutor and member of the New Mexico Legislature amid controversy that she was politically motivated and therefore biased in the case, according to The Los Angeles Times. Baldwin’s portrayal of then-president Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” was used a reference to demonstrate the political sensitivity associated with this case.

Reeb’s resignation created a gap in the prosecution team on the cusp of a critical May hearing, which is a huge benefit to Baldwin’s legal team, according to The Los Angles Times. Reeb’s departure added increased pressure on Carmack-Altwies.

“There are not enough prosecutors in the state, and we have to be able to look outside of our offices in order to find people,” she said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “We need extra manpower on this case so that it does not take away from prosecuting all of the other cases currently in our office.” She noted her office is supposed to function with the help of a team of 24 lawyers.

“We’re down seven attorneys and we will be down nine by the end of this month,” Carmack-Altwies said.

Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion objected to the appointment of the new special prosecutor, and insisted Carmack-Altwies step down in accordance with the law, if she planned to hand the case to a new prosecutor. (RELATED: REPORT: ‘Rust’ Crew Members File Lawsuit Against Alec Baldwin)

Baldwin’s team did not object to working alongside a new special prosecutor, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Sommer indicated Carmack-Altwies should find a way to move forward with the case with her existing resources, or step aside if a special prosecutor is required, the outlet noted. She gave Carmack-Altwies until the end of the week to declare how she will be moving forward.