Prosecutors are expected to drop manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin in the death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, sources confirmed on Thursday.
Baldwin’s Lawyers Pleased With the Outcome
In a statement, Baldwin’s lawyers said they were pleased with the outcome. The charges against Alec Baldwin were filed in January for involuntary manslaughter after an accidental shooting on the set of Rust in October 2021.
Baldwin was accused of negligently firing his Colt .45 during set-up for a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch. He could have faced up to 18 months in prison if convicted.
Baldwin’s lawyers recently presented evidence to the prosecutors that influenced the decision to drop the charges.
The evidence indicated that the Colt .45 had been modified prior to the shooting, making it more difficult for the D.A. to prove that Baldwin actually did pull the trigger.
D.A. Will Drop the Charges ‘Without Prejudice’
The D.A. will drop the charges “without prejudice,” meaning that the case could be refiled later, perhaps with a lesser charge.
But there is no indication at the moment that prosecutors have any plan to revive the case.
The D.A. has also filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer who loaded Baldwin’s weapon. The case against her is expected to proceed.
The prosecution has been plagued with setbacks, and many observers questioned whether the D.A. would be able to show that Baldwin acted with “criminal negligence.”
The Santa Fe district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, initially charged Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed with a firearm enhancement, which could have tacked five years onto their sentences.
That enhancement was dropped, however, after prosecutors discovered it did not apply at the time of the shooting.
A special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, was also forced to withdraw from the case after Baldwin’s lawyers argued that she could not serve as both a D.A. and a state lawmaker at the same time.
Carmack-Altwies recently handed off the case to two appointed special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis.
Gutierrez Reed’s Lawyers Predict Vindication
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers, Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion, praised the new prosecutors for deciding to drop the charge against Baldwin, and predicted that their client will ultimately be vindicated as well.
They believe that the truth about what happened will come out and the questions that they have long sought answers for will be answered.
They fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be exonerated.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 3, at which the special prosecutors were expected to call witnesses to show there is enough evidence to go to trial.
Baldwin’s attorneys indicated he was not willing to waive statutory deadlines, giving the two new prosecutors relatively little time to prepare.
Baldwin is Currently on Set in Montana
Baldwin is currently on set in Montana, where production on Rust is set to resume after a 17-month pause.
Dave Halls, the first assistant director on Rust, pleaded no contest on March 31 to a misdemeanor charge of negligent handling of a weapon.
He was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation.