It appears that actor Alec Baldwin has not yet resolved the legal implications of the unfortunate incident of a cinematographer’s shooting death on the set of his film “Rust” in 2021.
According to a report by The Daily Wire, there is a possibility that Baldwin might potentially be confronted with accusations of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the shooting incident on the film set, resulting in the unfortunate death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the injury of director Joel Souza.
Based on information provided by two sources interviewed by NBC News, it has been reported that legal authorities in New Mexico are making arrangements to reinstate charges against the actor, aged 65, subsequent to their prior decision to dismiss the criminal proceedings. The prosecutors assert that they have discovered further information pertaining to the case, which has prompted this course of action. Furthermore, according to the cited sources, it is anticipated that the case may be presented to a grand jury by the middle of the upcoming month.
“We believe that based on our lengthy and detailed investigation it is appropriate for a grand jury in New Mexico to make a decision on whether the case should proceed,” one of the prosecutors, Kari T. Morrissey, told The New York Times.
Prosecutors stated that “this decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability, and charges may be refiled” when they withdrew their accusations earlier this year.
“The gun and broken sear have been sent to the state’s independent expert for further testing,” the prosecutor’s office said at the time. “The charges against Alec Baldwin were dismissed without prejudice because a possible malfunction of the gun significantly affects causation with regard to Baldwin, not with regard to Gutierrez. If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed.”
The incident happened in October 2021 on the film’s New Mexico set. Baldwin has insisted that there was “no trigger pull,” despite reports that the gun he was holding fired.
To ascertain whether the gun had malfunctioned, New Mexico prosecutors called in firearm experts Lucien and Mike Haag to testify against “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
“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,” the analysts noted.
Baldwin was prosecuted by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office in January 2023 with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. However, the charges were subsequently dismissed without prejudice in April.
“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic incident,” his attorneys said at the time.
Baldwin was formally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter by the Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office in January 2023. The accusations were dismissed in April without prejudice. According to NBC News, Gutierrez-Reed is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and is anticipated to enter a plea of not guilty. The commencement of her trial is scheduled for February 2024.
“Over the last few days and in preparation for a May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against Alexander ‘Alec’ Rae Baldwin, III,” the prosecutors said earlier this year.
“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 pair added.
The prosecution have decided to dismiss the charges in order to facilitate additional investigation.
According to a report from Variety:
Baldwin’s lawyers recently presented evidence to the prosecutors that influenced the decision to drop the charges, according to a source familiar with the process. The evidence indicated that the Colt .45 had been modified prior to the shooting, making it more difficult for the D.A. to prove that Baldwin actually did pull the trigger.
The D.A. will drop the charges “without prejudice,” meaning that the case could be refiled later, perhaps with a lesser charge. In the statement, Morrissey and Lewis said that as they were preparing for a preliminary hearing over the last few days, “new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis.”
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