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Special prosecutor in Alec Baldwin Rust shooting case steps aside after separation of powers complaint

A special prosecutor who doubles as a state MP is stepping down from her role in the manslaughter case against actor Alec Baldwin in the death of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set.

Baldwin’s legal team in February sought to disqualify special prosecutor and Republican state representative Andrea Reeb based on constitutional provisions that safeguard the separation of powers between distinct branches of government.

Ms Reeb said in a statement on Tuesday that she “will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand”.

“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,” Ms Reeb said.

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

Baldwin and weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

A black-and-white selfie of Halyna Hutchins.
Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of the movie Rust when a prop gun misfired.(Instagram: Halyna Hutchins)

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and fines.

Ms Hutchins died shortly after being wounded on October 21, 2021, during rehearsals for the Western film Rust at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe.

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

Prosecutors say assistant director David Halls, who oversaw safety on set, has signed an agreement to plead guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon.

In her role as a state representative, Ms Reeb has sponsored several criminal justice initiatives, including enhanced punishments for firearms violations.

The Republican steered clear of voting on public spending to prosecute Baldwin and Ms Gutierrez-Reed.

She was excused from a House floor vote in February on a proposed state budget that includes $US360,000 ($538,000) for special prosecution expenses in the fatal film-set shooting.

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