Months after criminal charges were filed against Alec Baldwin in connection to the fatal 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, the New Mexico district attorney's office is moving to drop all charges against the actor.
According to a new report by Deadline, special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis are expected to file paperwork to dismisses involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin without prejudice. Charges against Baldwin's co-defendant and the production's former armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed still stand, which means the award-winning actor still remains subject to further investigation, subpoenas and more going forward.
Representatives for the Santa Fe’s District Attorney’s office declined comment on why they were dropping charges but the move comes roughly two weeks ahead of a mini-trial set to take place regarding Hutchins killing. Earlier this week, the state produced their 35-person witness list for the mini-trial which will determine whether or not there is enough evidence to go to a full trial. Presiding Judge Mary Marlow Sommer had previously granted Baldwin approval to be absent from the preliminary court proceedings.
“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,” Baldwin attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in a statement. Baldwin previously plead not guilty to the accidental killing this past February, insisting in an ABC interview weeks after Hutchins' death that he did not pull the trigger on the prop gun that fatally wounded the Rust cinematographer despite an FBI report refuting the claim.
The news that charges against Baldwin are being dropped comes as production on Rust is set to resume at the Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana. Both Baldwin and director Joel Souza, who was also injured in the accident, and a mix of old and new crew members are expected to return to the project, per The Hollywood Reporter. Cinematographer Bianca Cline, whose previous credits include Marcel the Shell With Shoes On and American Horror Story, is set to step in as director of photography with widow Matthew Hutchins’ “blessing and support.” Cline has also promised to donate her salary from the movie to charity.
Former armorer Gutierrez-Reed, who currently still has pending legal charges, and former assistant director Dave Halls, who signed a plea deal over negligent use of a deadly weapon and is currently serving a six month unsupervised probation, will not be returning to set. The film shoot will no longer be using working weapons moving forward with an enhanced set of safety protocols reportedly in place.
“Though bittersweet, I am grateful that a brilliant and dedicated new production team joining former cast and crew are committed to completing what Halyna and I started,” Souza said in a statement about resuming production on Rust. “My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf.”
Photo via Getty/ANGELA WEISS/AFP
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