Rust star Alec Baldwin had his involuntary manslaughter charges dropped by special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis in the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico on Friday.
The charges were brought after a gun Baldwin was holding fired on the set of Rust, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in January.
Baldwin still faces civil lawsuits, but the case has been closed.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter, had her preliminary hearing moved to August 9, and both her attorneys and the special prosecutor team agreed to allow more time during a status hearing.
Baldwin returned to the set of Rust, now in Montana, for the first day of filming on April 20.
Baldwin’s civil lawsuits
The decision to dismiss Baldwin’s charges “does not absolve” him, and the investigation is still active and ongoing, according to Morrissey and Lewis.
Baldwin could potentially still face new charges in the future, although legal experts told Fox News Digital the filing of new charges is unlikely.
Baldwin still faces a handful of civil lawsuits, including one brought by Rust script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, along with another by Hutchins’ mother, father, and sister.
Both parties are represented by attorney Gloria Allred.
Allred said that Baldwin cannot escape from the fact that he had a significant role in a tragedy that had real-life consequences for Halyna, her mother, father, sister, and co-worker.
Armorer’s attorneys are hopeful
Gutierrez-Reed still faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to Hutchins’ death.
Both the special prosecutor and her attorneys agreed to allow more time during a status hearing, and Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion welcomed the “diligent and thorough approach” the new special prosecutor team has taken to the investigation.
They are seeking the truth, and they fully expect that Hannah will be exonerated at the end of the process.
Legal experts weigh in
Celebrity defense lawyer Duncan Levin called the criminal prosecution against Baldwin “a shameful abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
He said that there should be some consequences to the state for bringing this in the first place, although he acknowledged it was a relief to Baldwin.
Personal injury lawyer John J. Perlstein said the case was a likely loser, and there were too many setbacks to actually have found Baldwin to be acting with criminal negligence.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani explained the mistakes made by the prosecution, saying Baldwin was “overcharged” with a firearms enhancement, which carried a five-year minimum sentence.
He also noted that the first special prosecutor and the district attorney had both stepped down from the case.
Director spotted on set
Joel Souza, the director of Rust, was photographed on set for the first time on Friday. He was injured in the shooting that killed Hutchins.
Principal photography for the film began roughly a year and a half after production was halted due to the incident.