Home Markets Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ prosecution sees switch-up as special prosecutor denies ‘infighting’ at DA’s office

Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ prosecution sees switch-up as special prosecutor denies ‘infighting’ at DA’s office

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Three months before Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial is set to begin, one of the three special prosecutors has withdrawn from the “Rust” case.

Jason A. Lewis, who also prosecuted Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s case, submitted a motion to withdraw from Baldwin’s case, which went unopposed by Baldwin’s legal team. 

Prior to Lewis’ request to step down, Baldwin’s attorneys alleged in a new filing that Baldwin had been offered a plea deal that was later inappropriately retracted. 

“After Alec’s attorney filing, there was infighting at the DA’s office resulting in [Lewis] stepping down,” a source familiar with Baldwin’s case told “Extra” in a report published Thursday. 


Alec Baldwin gives a speech

Alec Baldwin will have a new special prosecutor in his involuntary manslaughter trial. (Dimitrios Kambouris)

However, Prosecutor Kari Morrissey denied the “infighting” claims in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital.

“I would like to know who would allege infighting. There has been no infighting. Mr. Lewis and I have been close friends for twenty-five years and there has been no infighting or significant disagreements,” Morrissey said.

She continued, “The Baldwin trial was set very quickly at the request of Mr. Baldwin. Mr. Lewis has obligations to another client between now and July that prohibit him from dedicating the appropriate amount of time to preparing for the Baldwin trial.”

“In fact, Mr. Lewis met with his other client prior to withdrawing from the Baldwin case to determine if adequate time could be carved out that would allow him to remain as counsel on the Baldwin case and still meet his obligations to his other client,” Morrissey added. “Ultimately, Mr. Lewis made the difficult decision to withdraw so he can meet his obligations to his other client and Ms. Johnson has joined the team to substitute for Mr. Lewis.

Lewis’ official withdrawal from Baldwin’s case came shortly after the prosecution added Erlinda Johnson to the roster.

Mary Carmack-Altwies, who stepped back from prosecuting Baldwin’s case in March 2023, appointed Johnson in court documents filed April 16 and obtained by Fox News Digital.

Alec Baldwin on set of "Rust"

Alec Baldwin claimed the prosecution had inappropriately rescinded his plea deal. (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department)

Johnson is a personal injury, wrongful death and civil rights attorney in New Mexico. The lawyer spoke to multiple outlets regarding Baldwin’s case prior to her appointment, mostly giving her opinion on whether the actor would face charges.

“Whoever handles the firearm has a duty to check it for any live rounds,” Johnson told People magazine in 2021. On top of criminal liability, “there’s a lot of civil liability here. It’s going to be a nightmare for [people involved with the movie].”


Baldwin’s legal team recently claimed that prosecutors had inappropriately rescinded a plea offer made months before he was charged for a second time with involuntary manslaughter.

His legal team revealed that the actor had received a plea offer from special prosecutors on Oct. 5, 2023, according to new court documents obtained by Fox News Digital. The move was made to ensure “that similarly situated defendant’s [sic] do not receive disparate treatment,” the documents stated.

Assistant director Dave Halls received probation and no prison time after accepting the state’s plea deal on March 31, 2023. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died October 21, 2021, after a gun that Baldwin was holding fired on the set of “Rust.”


Baldwin was given until October 27 to accept the same deal given to Halls, but his legal team claimed that the offer had been rescinded before the written deadline.

Alec Baldwin sits in Rust church

Alec Baldwin was shown sitting in the church where Hutchins was killed in outtakes from the “Rust” production used during Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s trial. (CourtTv)

Morrissey called Baldwin’s latest filing “false and misleading” in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The plea was withdrawn due to the reasons outlined in our response to his motion to dismiss,” she noted.

Baldwin will head to court in July for the involuntary manslaughter trial. Jury selection will begin July 9, according to New Mexico Courts. The trial is expected to last until July 19.

However, the “30 Rock” actor is working to have his indictment dismissed. Baldwin was indicted on counts of involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection – January 19.

Baldwin’s motion to dismiss argued that the prosecution had acted unethically and failed to present crucial evidence to a grand jury.

“Enough is enough,” the court documents stated. “This is an abuse of the system, and an abuse of an innocent person whose rights have been trampled to the extreme.”


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