It seems that the actor Alec Baldwin has yet to address the legal ramifications associated with the tragic gunshot death of a cinematographer that occurred during production of his film “Rust” in 2021.
As per a report by The Daily Wire, Baldwin could potentially face charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting incident that transpired on the set of the film, which claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
According to information gathered from two sources who were interviewed by NBC News, preparations are underway by New Mexico legal authorities to reestablish charges against the 65-year-old actor, following their previous decision to terminate the criminal proceedings. The prosecution claims to have uncovered additional evidence related to the case, which has instigated this course of action. Moreover, as per the references provided, there is expectation that the case might be submitted to a grand jury by the midpoint of the following 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 occurred on the set of the film in New Mexico in October 2021. Baldwin has maintained that “no trigger pull occurred,” contrary to reports that the firearm in his possession discharged.
In order to determine whether the firearm had malfunctioned, prosecutors in New Mexico called on firearms experts Mike Haag and Lucien Gutierrez-Reed 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.
In January 2023, the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office filed charges of involuntary manslaughter against Baldwin, amounting to two counts. Subsequently, in April, the allegations were dismissed without prejudice.
“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 officially accused by the Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office in January 2023 with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Without prejudice, the accusations were dismissed in April. Gutierrez-Reed, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, is expected to enter a not guilty plea, per NBC News. The tentative date for the initiation of her trial is 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.
In an effort to facilitate further investigation, the prosecution has chosen to dismiss the charges.
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.”