Less than seven months after criminal charges against Alec Baldwin were dropped for the 2021 killing of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Baldwin faces possible new involuntary manslaughter charges. A grand jury could evaluate the new claims within weeks.
Deadline reports, “After extensive investigation over the past several months, additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Joel Souza,” said special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis today of the tragedy on the New Mexico set of the indie Western two years ago.
“We believe the appropriate course of action is to permit a panel of New Mexico citizens to determine from here whether Mr. Baldwin should be held over for criminal trial,” the prosecutors added. Baldwin insisted from day one that he did not pull the trigger that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. Prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Baldwin earlier this year but never ruled out refiling claims if new evidence surfaced.
Alec Baldwin's Lawyers Label Situation a “Misguided Prosecution”
Right now, only Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is officially facing charges. She is scheduled to go to trial in early February, but that could change if Baldwin is recharged. Reed faces a maximum of 18 months behind bars and approximately $5,000 in fines if a jury finds her guilty. If Baldwin is recharged and found guilty, he could face similar punishment.
Both the FBI and independent gun examiners dispute Baldwin's claim that he did not pull the trigger of the replica 1873 revolver. “Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” said the special prosecutors' report.
Deadline reports, “On October 10, New Mexico Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled Rust Movie Productions and Baldwin’s El Dorado Pictures have to hand over to the special prosecutors internal documents fully detailing the actor’s producer role on the film. Centering on what Baldwin stood to gain financially in his producer role, Morrissey and Lewis want to know how much Baldwin knew of cost cutting, safety concerns and crew anxiety about conditions and pay.”
“It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution,” stated Baldwin’s lawyers Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro. “We will answer any charges in court.”