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Judge Issues Ruling as Baldwin Seeks to Toss Criminal Charges Against Him in ‘Rust’ Shooting

Alec Baldwin’s lawyers lost another bid Friday to get his involuntary manslaughter case dismissed.

The embattled star is slated to go to trial July 9 for the 2021 accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western film “Rust” in New Mexico.

The high-powered attorneys argued that the case should be dropped because Baldwin had no grounds to believe the gun contained a live round.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected the argument at the virtual hearing. Baldwin was not present.

The defense has another motion to dismiss still pending before the judge. Baldwin’s team argued that the FBI testing damaged the firearm to the point that the defense couldn’t examine it.

“The government took the most critical evidence in this case – the firearm – and destroyed it by repeatedly and pointlessly striking it with a mallet,” defense attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro wrote in court filings. “Government agents knew that the firearm would not survive.”

Earlier in the hearing, the judge shot down the prosecution’s request to grant movie set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed immunity in an attempt to compel her to testify.

Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter for her role in Hutchins’ death. She mistakenly loaded the gun with live ammunition.

Both Baldwin, who is co-producer and lead actor in the film, and Gutierrez-Reed are opposing efforts to have her testify.

“It’s pretty clear she does not intend to cooperate,” the judge said. “I haven’t heard anything that she might testify to that someone else could not testify to.”

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey said the state could still call on Gutierrez-Reed but without immunity.

Gutierrez-Reed invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a pretrial proceeding in May and declined to answer any questions about the case.

She’s currently serving an 18-month sentence.

Baldwin was rehearsing when he aimed the gun at Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021, and allegedly fired, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin maintains that he never pulled the trigger, but prosecutors have countered that it could not have fired without him doing so.

An FBI expert testified at the hearing that the firearm was working properly, and that it was unlikely that it discharged without a depression of the trigger. The prosecution also played clips from “Rust” purportedly showing Baldwin firing the gun, and it operating properly.

Special prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson revealed that boom operator Zac Sneesby was near Baldwin when the gun fired.

“Mr. Sneesby specifically said he saw Mr. Baldwin pull the trigger,” she said of the witness. “And as you know, the defense position has always been that he didn’t pull the trigger. Well, now there’s an eyewitness.”

Baldwin, who has pleaded not guilty in the case, faces a maximum term of 18 months in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors abandoned a prior involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin last year, asserting that the gun could have been modified before the incident and malfunctioned.

They revived the charges after further analysis of the firearm.

They plan to argue at trial that the “30 Rock” star displayed “reckless behavior” on the set, routinely ignored safety protocols – and once fired a blank round at an assistant on the Santa Fe ranch.

The temperamental thespian, they said, exercised complete control over the set and often acted boorishly with the film’s staffers.

The hearing continues Monday.

READ 14 COMMENTS
  • Larry says:

    This is really simple. In an accidental shooting the person handling a firearm is the responsible party. Why were there even live rounds on the set? There were numerous faults with the safety protocols exercised on this set and there may be others that are complicit such as the on-set armorer, but in the end it is the person handling the firearm that has the ultimate responsibility of insuring the weapon is safe. Always treat a gun as loaded and always check the firearm no matter what anyone says Period! Normally, one should never point a weapon at anyone unless it’s done for the right reasons such as self defense etc. Because of the nature of Hollywood movie sets, these general principles require additional safety protocols to insure a weapon is safe. While I don’t believe this tragedy was intentional, it clearly was his responsibility as the person holding and pointing the weapon to insure the weapon was safe.

  • Natalie says:

    Baldwin needs to just man up and do his time. He clearly did it, time to pay the Piper PERIOD!

  • FLA-GAL says:

    I DON’T GIVE A FUCK IF YOU THINK THERE ARE BLANK ROUNDS IN THE FIREARM, IT’S STILL A PROJECTILE!!!!! YOU DON’T POINT A LOADED FIREARM AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING OR ANIMAL AND PULL THE TRIGGER!!!!! WTF?????

  • JJ says:

    And so he gets away with it again!! Our justice system sucks!!!

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