Charges against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his Western movie “Rust” have been dropped after “new facts” surfaced in recent days. The announcement came 2 ½ months after New Mexico prosecutors filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin.
In a statement, the special prosecutors appointed by New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies to handle the case said that the new facts were revealed as authorities prepared for a May 3 preliminary hearing. The statement, from Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, did not say what those facts were, but stated that they required additional investigation and forensic analysis.
“Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form,” the prosecutors said. “We, therefore, will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation.”
However, the prosecutors added that their decision did not “absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability.” They also noted that charges may be refiled.
The charges against Baldwin’s co-defendant, “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, remain unchanged, the prosecutors said.
The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal reported that the new information in the case was that the prop gun used in the deadly shooting had been modified. A source close to the investigation confirmed that reporting to NBC News.
Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger.
Baldwin’s lawyers, Luke Nikas, and Alex Spiro, applauded the decision and said in a joint statement that they “encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident.”
Lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed said the special prosecutors had undertaken a diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which they welcomed. “They are seeking the truth, and we are also,” attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion said in a statement. “The truth about what happened will come out, and the questions that we have long sought answers for will be answered. We fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be exonerated.”
University of New Mexico law professor Joshua Kastenberg, a former lawyer and judge in the Air Force who had questioned the strength of the DA’s case, said he was still surprised by the sudden turn of events Thursday.
“What probably shocked me the most is that I just feel badly for the family of the woman who died,” Kastenberg said. “I’m sure it’s difficult for them to handle” the decision not to prosecute Baldwin, he said. “Nothing was ever going to bring their kid back, so I’m sure there’s a lot of frustrations there.”
Halyna Hutchins, 42, was shot and killed on October 21, 2021, during filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. Baldwin was rehearsing with a pistol for a scene when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
The case appeared to be fraught from the start, when special prosecutor Andrea Reeb was forced to resign amid defense claims that she had a conflict of interest. Reeb is also a New Mexico state representative, and her work for the DA would mean she occupies two separate lanes of government that should be separated, Baldwin’s team said in a filing.
Legal analysts said that the state was always going to have a difficult burden to prove that Hutchins’ death was anything more than a tragic accident. Blaming Baldwin — as both the person with the gun in his hand and the producer allegedly in charge of everything on set — was always going to be a difficult burden for prosecutors, said Los Angeles-based personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio.
“They may also have come to a realization
Most likely the new facts were presented under someone’s table
Charging Baldwin for this was almost as stupid as evilly charging good officer Derek Chauvin…
Did you really think he would pay the price for killing someone? Of course not. he is part of the left and they always believe themselves above the law. – and the evidence, was it found in someone’s trunk ?
Good little demonRATS can commit murder, and get away with it.