According to Alec Baldwin’s legal team, New Mexico prosecutors have decided to drop the involuntary manslaughter charges against the actor for his role in the tragic on-set shooting of the movie ‘Rust’ in 2021. The incident involved a prop gun that unexpectedly discharged while Baldwin was practicing with it, ultimately taking the life of the film’s talented cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. Although the charges against Baldwin may have been dropped, it is important to note that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, is still facing charges related to the accident.
Following the tragic events recorded last year, Mr. Baldwin was charged in connection with the ‘Rust’ shooting in New Mexico. He and his legal team are understandably relieved about the dismissal of the case against him, as expressed in the statement provided by his lawyers, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro. They are pleased with the decision and look forward to a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of the incident.
BREAKING NEWS: Involuntary Manslaughter Charges against actor Alec Baldwin have just been DROPPED in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Rust".
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– Evidence shows the gun may have discharged without the trigger… pic.twitter.com/G35SqIsKvt
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) April 20, 2023
Unfortunately, Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the Santa Fe County district attorney’s office, declined to provide any further comment on the matter. However, it is clear that the case against Baldwin has taken an important turn, with his lawyers expressing relief and satisfaction with the decision to dismiss the charges.
Meanwhile, the situation is different for the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was also charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting. Despite the fact that prosecutors have decided to dismiss the case against Baldwin, the charges against Gutierrez-Reed still stand. This is according to Jason Bowles, a lawyer representing Ms. Gutierrez-Reed in this matter.
The charges against both Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed stemmed from the deadly events that took place on October 21, 2021, during the shooting of ‘Rust.’ At that time, the gun Baldwin was holding unexpectedly fired, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza. Baldwin had been previously informed that the gun contained no live ammunition.
All criminal charges against Alec Baldwin for ‘Rust’ shooting will be dropped. pic.twitter.com/VGvmtv5utE
— Pop Base (@PopBase) April 20, 2023
In a silver lining for the devastated production, filming on ‘Rust’ is set to resume this week in Montana, as the team has relocated from New Mexico. Notably, the late cinematographer’s husband, Matthew Hutchins, is now serving as an executive producer on the film – a touching tribute to her memory.
Not all was smooth in the legal process leading up to the decision of dropping the charges against Mr. Baldwin. In fact, the prosecution had faced numerous setbacks in recent months. For instance, the original charges against Baldwin had been downgraded after his lawyers successfully pointed out that one of them was based on a law not in effect at the time of the shooting.
Adding to the setbacks, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stepped away from the case last month, appointing two New Mexico lawyers, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, as special prosecutors. Morrissey and Lewis have not issued any comments regarding the recent decision to drop the charges against Baldwin.
Previously, Andrea Reeb had been appointed as the special prosecutor for the case, but she was compelled to remove herself after Mr. Baldwin’s legal team argued that her appointment violated the State Constitution. This was due to her concurrent service as a state legislator.
CNBC: The first Special Prosecutor in the Alec Baldwin case, New Mexican Republican legislator Andrea Reeb, stepped down after an email surfaced in which she suggested the case would help her political career. You know, the weaponization of the justice system.
— LiberalNavySeal (@LeftyNavySeal) March 31, 2023
In a previous ABC television interview, Baldwin stated that he was told the gun he was using did not contain any live ammunition, a type of round that is generally barred from film sets. The seasoned actor claimed he was merely following directions while practicing drawing the gun on set that tragic day.
Baldwin stressed during the interview that someone had negligently loaded a live bullet – which should not have been present on the property – into the gun. He made sure to emphasize that he could not pinpoint who that person was, but one thing was clear: it was not him.
At the time when the manslaughter charges were first brought against Baldwin back in January, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies had asserted that he had ‘absolute duty to know that what is in the gun that is being placed in his hand is safe.’ This statement was met with skepticism from various actors, armorers, union leaders, and other film industry professionals.
SAG-AFTRA, the union representing film, television, and radio workers, responded to Carmack-Altwies by claiming her assertion to be both ‘wrong and uninformed.’ The union went on to stress the point that an actor’s job does not entail being a firearms or weapons expert.
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stepped down in the "Rust" fatal shooting investigation. Also, two new special prosecutors were announced. pic.twitter.com/3xiKWkqGHj
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) March 31, 2023
On the other hand, the movie’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, who was in charge of safety on the ‘Rust’ set, managed to negotiate a plea deal with District Attorney Carmack-Altwies and Special Prosecutor Reeb on a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. As a result, Halls was sentenced to six months of probation.
In the midst of the legal whirlwind, a New Mexico judge was scheduled to decide next month whether the manslaughter charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would proceed. Notably, Baldwin had entered a ‘not guilty’ plea, and it had been suggested that Gutierrez-Reed had intended to do the same.
Now that all charges have been dropped… how long until Alec Baldwin is back on SNL joking about killing a woman?
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) April 20, 2023