Judge rejects motion to dismiss manslaughter charge against Alec Baldwin

A New Mexico judge has rejected a request by Alec Baldwin to dismiss the sole criminal charge against him in a fatal shooting on the set of “Rust,” keeping the case on track for a trial this summer.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer on Friday upheld an indictment charging Baldwin with one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021. The judge rejected defense arguments that prosecutors flouted the rules of grand jury proceedings to divert attention away from exculpatory evidence and witnesses.

Special prosecutors have denied the accusations and said Baldwin made “shameless” attempts to escape culpability, highlighting contradictions in his statements to law enforcement, to workplace safety regulators and in a televised interview.

Friday’s decision removes one of the last hurdles for prosecutors to put Baldwin on trial in July.

During a rehearsal on the set of the Western film, Baldwin pointed a gun at Hutchins when the revolver went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin has maintained that he pulled back the gun’s hammer but not the trigger.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 1.5 years in prison.

In March, “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty of a single count of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death. Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for the weapons and ammunition on the film set. Prosecutors said there were six live bullets found on the set, including the one that was fired from the prop gun Baldwin was holding. 

Gutierrez-Reed was sentenced to 18 months in state prison. 

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