Charges dropped against Alec Baldwin in ‘Rust’ film fatal shooting
Criminal charges are being dropped against Alec Baldwin in connection to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a film set in 2021, ABC News is reporting.
Baldwin was facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the fatal discharge of a prop weapon while the actor was rehearsing on the New Mexico set of “Rust” in October 2021. Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded.
“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” said attorneys for Alec Baldwin, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro in a statement to the media.
New Mexico prosecutors, however, said later Thursday that Baldwin is not fully cleared of criminal responsibility in the incident.
They said they have been presented with new information that they have to investigate and analyze and they couldn’t meet legal time constraints as they were preparing for a May 3 preliminary hearing.
“We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation,” said the statement from special prosecutors Kari T. Morrissey and Jason J. Lewis. “This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled. Our follow-up investigation will remain active and on-going.”
Baldwin and weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges. Gutierrez-Reed continues to face charges and a preliminary hearing for her has been scheduled for May 3.
Her attorneys, Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion, released a statement Thursday expressing confidence that Gutierrez-Reed will be exonerated:
“The new special prosecutor team has taken a very diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and have always welcomed. They are seeking the truth and we are also. 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.”
The news about the charges is coming out even as filming on “Rust” is resuming Thursday, this time in Montana.
Lawyers say the production will continue without the use of working weapons and any form of ammunition.
The original production in New Mexico was paused in 2021 after the fatal incident.
Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, will now serve as an executive producer of the film.
Baldwin will continue to be involved as both an actor and producer.
Filming is restarting at the Yellowstone Film Ranch.
The production company finalized a settlement last month with New Mexico workplace safety regulators over “serious” violations, agreeing to a $100,000 fine to resolve a scathing safety review that detailed unheeded complaints and misfires on set before Hutchins was killed in 2021.
Plans to resume filming were outlined last year by widower Matthew Hutchins in a proposed settlement to a wrongful death lawsuit that would make him an executive producer on a rebooted “Rust.”
“Rust” safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest in March to a conviction for unsafe handling of a firearm and a suspended sentence of six months of probation.
Director Joel Souza, who was wounded when the gun went off, has said he’ll return to the “Rust” production to honor the legacy of Halyna Hutchins.
Parts of a documentary about Hutchins’ life will be filmed simultaneously with “Rust.”