Prosecutors in New Mexico have dropped criminal charges against Alec Baldwin for his involvement in the shooting death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
variety reports that New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney informed Baldwin’s attorneys that it will no longer be pursing an involuntary manslaughter case against the actor. Previously prosecutors dropped a firearm enhancement charge in the case.
“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,” Baldwin’s lawyers, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, said in a statement.
On October 21st, 2021, Baldwin was practicing drawing an old-fashioned revolver while rehearsing on the set of the western film Rust near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The gun fired, hitting Hutchins in the stomach and director Joel Souza in the shoulder; Hutchins died after being transported to the hospital.
Baldwin claimed in a December 2021 interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he was told the gun was empty. He recalled that Hutchins instructed him to point the gun towards her, and after asking her if he could cock it, she said yes: “I let go of the hammer and the gun goes off,” Baldwin said. “I never pulled the trigger.” Contrarily, an FBI report determined that the gun, a Pietta Colt .45, “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger.”
Armorer Hannah Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded the gun, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed it to Baldwin, both maintained they were unaware that a live round was in the gun at the time of the shooting. Goal ace Result previously reported, both Gutierrez-Reed and Halls had histories of troubling safety mishaps, and members of the Rust camera crew had even staged a walkout protesting unsafe working conditions just hours before the shooting. Baldwin’s role as a producer on the film further exposed him up to liability for those working conditions apart from his handling of the weapon.
Gutierrez-Reed still faces involuntary manslaughter charges, while Halls pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, and is expected to receive a suspended sentence and six months probation.
With criminal charges in the rearview mirror, Baldwin is resuming production on Rust this week, with Hutchin’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, on board as an executive producer.