State grants half of requested funding to DA for possible ‘Rust’ lawsuits
SANTA FE, NM — Nearly a year after the shooting death of beloved filmmaker Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust,” prosecutors are asking the state for more than half a million dollars in funding .
At a meeting of the New Mexico State Finance Council on Tuesday, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said she was within a week — or even days — of receiving a report. end of the sheriff’s office.
“Since last year, we’ve been waiting for FBI reports, phones, phone reports, and there were hundreds of people to interview,” she said.
According to a document obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the district attorney said that if charges are warranted, his office plans to prosecute up to four people. She named “Rust” actor and producer Alec Baldwin as one of the possible defendants.
“With that, in each of those charges, we will likely include some variant of our homicide law,” Carmack-Altwies said at the meeting.
In late August, his office requested $635,500 in “emergency funding” from the state, saying it would help jump-start the prosecution process.
“We need an almost full-time lawyer and someone who is very experienced in complex cases and very experienced in litigation,” Carmack-Altwies said. “Also that person will then need paralegal support staff, potentially an investigator to follow up on missing pieces or find witnesses, what have you.”
Carmack-Altwies also said she would use emergency funds to pay for expert witnesses and a public information officer to respond to all media inquiries her office has received from around the world.
“Our PIO right now is also a lawyer working in our office,” Carmack-Altwies said. “We don’t have the capacity to handle these requests to respond to emails, or even read them, and that’s why we asked for this budget.”
The State Board of Finance ultimately awarded more than $317,750, only half of what the district attorney had requested.
Council members explained their decision before putting it to a vote.
MP Paul Cassidy comments on the current budget.
“The State Board of Finance only gets a limited amount of emergency money each year, and what I tell board members is that we get requests from people who have never been – no d ‘agencies and state entities like yours – before,’ he said. “So we need people to advocate for more emergency funding in the coming budget years to take care of these things.”
Cassidy also asked the district attorney if his office plans to ask the Legislature for help in January.
“We intend to go to the Legislature next session and ask for a special appropriation of approximately the same amount,” Carmack-Altwies said. “The problem is we can’t wait until February or March to apply for it, and we certainly can’t wait until April at the earliest to get those funds.”
State Board Secretary of Finance Michael Sanchez spoke.
“I personally have no problem with the credit, and as Miss Altwies indicated earlier, if and when you go to the legislature and get the credit, it will reimburse the council of finance, for any expenses that have been allocated for the purpose of prosecution,” he said.
In the end, the council decided to grant half the requested amount, for now and said it would take action at a later date if necessary.
The district attorney said the next steps — depending on the final report from the sheriff’s office — will be to file a criminal complaint with the district court and proceed with preliminary hearings from there. She also said this case did not qualify for the use of a grand jury.