‘Rust’ Armorer Moves to Block Appointment of Special Prosecutor in Manslaughter Case

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed wants to stop New Mexico from bringing in outside lawyers to prosecute her involuntary manslaughter case

hannah gutierrez reed rust alec baldwin halyna hutchins
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“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed wants to stop the appointment of a special prosecutor in her involuntary manslaughter case after the previous person in that position resigned.

In a document filed Friday, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys argued that Santa Fe District Attorney Carmack-Altwiest was improperly using a New Mexico statue to hire a special prosecutor in the case of Gutierrez-Reed and actor Alec Baldwin. Both were charged in January with involuntary manslaughter in the October 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. 

Special prosecutor and Republican state Rep. Andrea Reeb stepped down from her position last month after Baldwin’s team sought to disqualify her for a conflict of interest because she now holds public office. 

“The Special Prosecutor statue is triggered only when the district attorney cannot act in the case,” the armorer’s attorneys, Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion began. “Obviously, the district attorney has no … authority to appoint a special prosecutor on the basis that she ‘cannot’ handle the case when she is seeking to co-counsel with the special prosecutor. The request to co-counsel undermines the statutory basis for appointment.”

However, in a separate brief filed Friday, Carmack-Altwies argued that she has “good cause” for adding a special prosecutor, mentioning that her team of what should be 25 is short-staffed with only 17 attorneys. 

“The legislative intent and caselaw is clear: the District Attorney is permitted to appoint a special prosecutor for “other good cause,” including when budgetary factors and caseloads justify doing so, as has been demonstrated here,” Carmack Altweis wrote. “Moreover, the special prosecutor enjoys wide latitude to make the prosecutorial decisions he or she deems necessary, including co-counsel with the District Attorney.”

Judge Mary Marlowe, who is overseeing the “Rust” cases, has scheduled a hearing on Monday to go over the appointment of a special prosecutor.