Judge Upholds Manslaughter Charge Against Alec Baldwin in 'Rust' Shooting
Cover Images/ROGER WONG

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejects the actor's motion to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, setting the stage for a trial this summer.

AceShowbiz - A New Mexico judge has rejected Alec Baldwin's attempt to dismiss the sole criminal charge against him in the fatal shooting on the set of "Rust", keeping the case on track for a trial this summer.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer upheld an indictment charging Baldwin with one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021, rejecting defense arguments that prosecutors flouted grand jury proceedings.

The ruling removes one of the last hurdles for prosecutors and increases the likelihood of Baldwin facing trial in July.

Baldwin's attorneys had argued that the grand jury received a biased presentation, with prosecutors steering jurors away from exculpatory evidence and witnesses. They highlighted Baldwin's belief that he did not pull the trigger and claimed the gun may have malfunctioned.

However, prosecutors maintained that they provided the grand jury with all relevant information and that Baldwin's statements were contradictory. They accused Baldwin of trying to avoid culpability.

Defense attorneys also questioned the involvement of an expert witness paid by the prosecution, arguing that jurors were prevented from hearing testimony from a detective familiar with proper industry protocols. Judge Sommer asked why the detective was not allowed to answer questions raised by jurors.

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey defended their handling of the grand jury, stating that they read a court-approved letter outlining procedures for evidence and witness access and pointed out defense exhibits. She emphasized that the grand jury never requested additional witnesses or exhibits.

Baldwin has previously filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that it contained inaccurate and limited testimony about the revolver and safety protocols used on the set.

Prosecutors have recharged Baldwin after dismissing an earlier manslaughter charge due to new analysis of the gun involved. The indictment offers two possible approaches: proving negligent use of a firearm or showing that Baldwin caused Hutchins' death with reckless disregard for safety.

Baldwin's team has indicated that he may have been offered a deal to plead to a minor offense but that it was withdrawn.

The trial of movie weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the shooting, provided insights into how Baldwin's own trial could unfold. Baldwin's authority as a co-producer and lead actor was a key focus during the proceedings.

Gutierrez-Reed is appealing her conviction.

The filming of "Rust" has resumed in Montana after an agreement with Hutchins' husband. Baldwin's defense team has not yet filed detailed arguments in their appeal.

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