Court Digest

New Mexico
Alec Baldwin wants prosecutor in on-set death case dropped

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Defense attorneys for actor Alec Baldwin are seeking to disqualify the special prosecutor in the case against him stemming from the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set.

In a motion filed Tuesday in Santa Fe-based district court, Baldwin’s legal team said Andrea Reeb’s position as a state lawmaker prohibits her under state law from holding any authority in a judicial capacity.

Reeb is “exercising either the executive power or the judicial power, and her continued service as a special prosecutor is unconstitutional,” Baldwin’s team argued in the motion.

Reeb, a Republican, was elected to the state House of Representatives in November and started her term last month.

The office of Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies dismissed the idea that Reeb would be disqualified. In a statement, the office characterized the motion as nothing but a legal diversion.

“Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys can use whatever tactics they want to distract from the fact that Halyna Hutchins died because of gross negligence and a reckless disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set,” the office wrote in the statement.

Baldwin and film-set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are scheduled to make their first court appearance by video conference in late February. Both have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza.

A manslaughter charge can be brought if a defendant killed while doing something lawful but dangerous and was acting negligently or without caution.

Fall trial planned for man charged with killing mom at sea

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday set an October trial for the man charged with killing his mother at sea during a 2016 fishing trip off the coast of New England in what prosecutors say was a scheme to inherit millions of dollars.

Nathan Carman, 29, of Vernon, Vermont, pleaded not guilty last year to fraud and first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Linda Carman of Middletown, Connecticut. The eight-count indictment also says Carman shot and killed his wealthy grandfather John Chakalos at his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013 but does not charge him with murder in his death.

U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford on Tuesday set the trial for Oct. 2 in Rutland. A federal prosecutor said the government planned to include several different types of expert testimony, including testimony on marine survival and draft analysis. Prosecutors plan to make those disclosures to the court by May 1.

Crawford also heard from lawyers about the defense’s motion for partial disclosure of minutes from the grand jury proceeding that led to Carman’s indictment, seeking to learn what was disclosed about his grandfather’s death.

Carman’s lawyer, David Sullivan, of Connecticut, told the judge that Carman was never charged in Chakalos’ death, but the indictment includes “outright assertions that are very troubling to the defense.” He said the investigation into Chakalos’ death is ongoing and has not been closed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Van de Graaf said Chakalos’ “murder” is part of the fraud charge.

In September 2016, Carman arranged a fishing trip with his mother, during which prosecutors say he planned to kill her and report that his boat sank and his mother disappeared in the accident.

He was found floating in an inflatable raft eight days after leaving a Rhode Island marina with his mother, who was never found. Prosecutors allege he altered the boat to make it more likely to sink. Carman has denied that allegation.


New York
Trump ex-lawyer Cohen meets again with ­prosecutors

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said he was meeting yet again Wednesday with New York City prosecutors who have spent years examining the former president’s financial dealings.

Cohen stopped briefly to talk with reporters as he entered the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He said it was the 15th time he had met with prosecutors.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg recently convened a new grand jury to hear evidence related to payments Cohen helped arrange in 2016 to two women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Trump.

“I don’t know why I’m here yet. We’ll find out as soon as I get upstairs,” Cohen said.

Cohen was previously one of Trump’s top lieutenants, acting as a liaison with the media and handling some of his legal and business affairs. But after federal prosecutors charged Cohen with tax evasion and criminal campaign finance violations, the two have become enemies.

Cohen testified before Congress that Trump’s company misled banks and others about the value of its assets, helping to spur investigations that led to the Trump Organization’s conviction in December on charges that it helped some of its executives avoid personal income taxes.

The existence of the new grand jury was previously confirmed by two people familiar with the investigation, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the secret proceeding.

Trump has denied having extramarital affairs with either of the women — porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal. Trump’s lawyers have said the payments were legal and that the investigation is politically motivated.


Man pleads not guilty to killing 6 at home

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — An alleged gang member pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing six people, including a teen mother and her baby, last month at a central California home associated with a rival gang, prosecutors said.

The Jan. 16 massacre shocked rural Goshen, a community of about 3,000 people in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley.

Noah David Beard, 25, was arraigned Tuesday and is being held without bail, according to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. Authorities say he shot Alissa Parraz, 16, and her 10-month-old baby, Nycholas Parraz, in the back of their heads.

Beard is scheduled to return to court Feb. 16. The Tulare County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing him, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beard’s alleged accomplice, 35-year-old Angel “Nanu” Uriarte, remains hospitalized in custody after he was wounded in the shootout with federal agents last week. His arraignment has not been scheduled.

Both are charged with six counts of murder and other crimes. They each face a potential sentence of the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Investigators believe the two suspects have ties to the Nuestra Familia prison gang. Uriarte was convicted in 2015 of assault with a firearm in association with a street gang, and Beard had juvenile convictions, prosecutors said in a court filing.

The suspects and members of the victims’ family have a long history of gang violence but the motive for the shooting “is not exactly clear,” Boudreaux said at a news conference last week.

The other victims were identified as: Rosa Parraz, 72; Eladio Parraz, Jr., 52; Jennifer Analla, 49; and Marcos Parraz, 19.

The Goshen killings were part of a violent and deadly month in California.

On Jan. 21, a gunman killed 11 people and wounded nine others at a Monterey Park dance hall before later killing himself. And on Jan. 23, authorities said a farmworker killed seven people in back-to-back shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms.


Student pleads not guilty in shooting at high school

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 19-year-old accused of shooting a school resource officer during a scuffle at a Kansas high school pleaded not guilty and was bound over for trial.

Jaylon Elmore entered his plea Monday during a preliminary hearing on charges of attempted capital murder, felony possession of a firearm and two counts of criminal use of a weapon.

Elmore is accused of shooting school resource officer Erik Clark in the March 4 shooting in the assistant principal’s office at Olathe East High School.

Prosecutors allege Elmore, who was a senior at the time, was called to the office when he refused to allow school officials to search his backpack after reports that he had a gun.

Clark and Elmore shot each other during the scuffle, according to court documents. The assistant principal was hit by bullets “most likely” shot by Clark during the confrontation, investigators said.

Both men survived their injuries and were released shortly after the shooting. Elmore was hospitalized in critical condition for several months.

Elmore’s scheduling trial is set for April 10. He is being held on $1 million bond, The Kansas City Star reported.

Man Googled ‘Gunshot in a house’ before murder-suicide

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man who fatally shot his wife, her mother and their five kids before turning the gun on himself had done online searches about how loud different guns sound and whether neighbors could hear gunshots five days before the killings, new court records posted online show.

According to a document containing the findings of a police search warrant, a search of Michael Haight’s phone showed he searched Google with the question, “can you hear a gunshot in a house.” He also researched how loud 9mm and 40mm guns were.

The findings, first reported by, add weight to the notion that the Jan. 4 killings in the small town of Enoch were planned. Relatives said Haight, 42, had also previously taken guns from the home, leaving his wife and mother-in-law unable to defend themselves.

Police believe Haight carried out the shootings, which came two weeks after his wife Tausha had filed for divorce, but have not announced motive for the shootings.

Last month, records showed that authorities had investigated Haight for child abuse in 2020 but that police and prosecutors decided not to charge him.

In an interview with authorities then, Macie Haight, the family’s eldest daughter, detailed multiple assaults, including one where she was choked by her father and “very afraid that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her.” However, Tausha Haight told authorities she did not want her husband to be prosecuted, hoping the investigation would be “a wake-up call” for him.

In another previously released search warrant from the shooting investigation, one of the family’s daughters sent a text message to friend the day before the killings “stating her dad came home, was acting strange and she was worried.”