‘Rust’ shooting: Charges against Alec Baldwin dropped

Prosecutors have formally dropped involuntary manslaughter charges filed against actor Alec Baldwin in the 2021 shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust.”

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Update 3:24 p.m. EDT April 21: Prosecutors on Friday file a motion to dismiss the charge against Baldwin on Friday, citing new evidence and the need for more time to investigate, The Associated Press reported.

On Thursday, special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said in a joint statement that “new facts were revealed” during the preparation for the preliminary hearing scheduled next month “that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against Alexander ‘Alec’ Rae Baldwin, III.”

“Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form,” prosecutors said.

“We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation. This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled. Our follow-up investigation will remain active and ongoing.”

Authorities said the case against “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be proceeding.

Original report: The actor’s attorneys said Thursday that prosecutors planned to drop charges against their client.

“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,” attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

Authorities did not immediately comment on the case.

Officials in New Mexico announced in January that Baldwin and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed had been charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter. David Halls, the assistant director of “Rust,” signed a plea agreement for one count of the negligent use of a deadly weapon and got a suspended sentence and six months of probation, prosecutors said.

Baldwin was holding a gun on Oct. 21, 2021, while Hutchins was setting up a scene for “Rust,” when the gun went off, authorities said. A bullet hit and killed Hutchins and injured the movie’s director, Joel Souza. Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger and that the gun went off accidentally.

In court records obtained by KRQE, prosecutors said that Halls handed Baldwin the gun that killed Hutchins, and that Gutierrez Reed was in charge of weapons on the set.

Last month, the special prosecutor tasked with handling the “Rust” case, Andrea Reeb, announced that she was stepping down amid questions over whether it was proper that she serve as special prosecutor while also serving as a state legislator. Mary Carmack-Altwies, district attorney for New Mexico’s first judicial district, appointed attorneys Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis to serve as special prosecutors over the case later that month.

Baldwin had pleaded not guilty to charges. An attorney for Gutierrez Reed has said she plans to plead not guilty as well, CNN reported. She is expected in court for a preliminary hearing next month, according to the news network.

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