Alec Baldwin Manslaughter Charge to Be Dropped in Rust Shooting
Prosecutors are expected to drop manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin in the death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, sources confirmed on Thursday.
In a statement, Baldwin’s lawyers said they were pleased with the outcome.
“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” said the lawyers, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro.
Baldwin was charged in January with involuntary manslaughter for the accidental shooting on the set of “Rust,” which took place in October 2021. He could have faced up to 18 months in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors accused him of negligently firing his Colt .45 during set-up for a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch. Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger, and had no idea that the gun might contain a live round.
The D.A. has also filed 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 him with a firearm enhancement, which could have tacked five years onto his sentence. 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. Carmack-Altwies recused her office, after a judge ruled that she could not continue to work on the case if she invoked the special prosecutor statute. Carmack-Altwies had said that her office was too overwhelmed with other casework, and was too short-staffed, to handle it without outside assistance.
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, 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.
Deadline was first to report the news.
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