Rust shooting | Alec Baldwin’s charges downgraded

Alec Baldwin is now facing one less charge in the Rust shooting case. The actor is still facing involuntary manslaughter charges. 

Alec Baldwin

The lawyers for Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed filed a motion arguing that their clients had been wrongfully charged under a New Mexico law that only passed after the tragic incident.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after a gun, held by Baldwin, fired off live ammunition which killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. The incident took place on 21 October 2021 but charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were not filed until 31 January 2023.

Baldwin was charged as an actor and a producer while Gutierrez-Reed was charged as the armorer but an earlier investigation by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Bureau showed that there was a lot of confusion over who was in charge of the weapon in question. 

Rust Shooting: Halyna Hutchins

Halyna Hutchins was shot dead during on-set rehearsals for the film (Getty Images)

Baldwin has insisted he did not pull the trigger. Several other accidents also happened during the shoot, including another weapon misfiring. 

The previous charges included a firearm enchantment. Now, with the reduced charges, both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed face a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison. With the previous charges, both faced up to 5 years behind bars. 

“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter). “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”

It was announced last week that Baldwin would return to complete Rust and a documentary about the life and work of Hutchins was also in the works. 

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