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Charges Dropped Against Alec Baldwin in Fatal "Rust" Shooting Case

New Facts Surface, Prompting Further Investigation and Forensic Analysis

By PinkeePublished about a year ago 3 min read

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New Mexico officials announced that they have dropped the involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. According to a statement from the special prosecutors handling the case, the charges were dismissed after "new facts" came to light as authorities were preparing for a preliminary hearing. However, the prosecutors added that the decision does not "absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability," and charges may be refiled. The charges against Baldwin's co-defendant, “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, remain unchanged.

Hutchins was fatally shot on October 21, 2021, during filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. Baldwin was rehearsing with a pistol for a scene when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. The case appeared to be fraught from the start when special prosecutor Andrea Reeb was forced to resign amid defense claims that she had a conflict of interest. The district attorney is "considered to be a member of either the judicial or executive branch of the New Mexico government," Baldwin's legal team said in a filing.

The dropping of charges against Baldwin comes after over two months of legal proceedings that have been complicated by various factors. Although the charges have been dropped, the tragedy of Hutchins's death is still very much present. University of New Mexico law professor Joshua Kastenberg, a former lawyer and judge in the Air Force who had questioned the strength of the DA's case, said he was still surprised by the sudden turn of events Thursday. "What probably shocked me the most is that I just feel badly for the family of the woman who died," Kastenberg said. "I'm sure it's difficult for them to handle" the decision not to prosecute Baldwin, he said. "Nothing was ever going to bring their kid back, so I'm sure there's a lot of frustrations there."

Baldwin's lawyers, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, applauded the decision and said in a joint statement that they "encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident.” The lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed said the special prosecutors had undertaken a diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which they welcome and have always welcomed. “They are seeking the truth, and we are also," attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion said in a statement. "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.”

Filming on "Rust" resumed Thursday at Yellowstone Ranch in Montana. The movie is expected to need at least 20 more days of filming, and Baldwin was on the set Thursday, sources close to the production said. The movie's plot centers on a 13-year-old boy left to fend for himself and his younger brother after their parents’ deaths in 1880s Kansas. The youngsters go on the run with their long-estranged grandfather Harland Rust, played by Baldwin, after he is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

In conclusion, the decision to drop charges against Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins has left many wondering about the tragedy and its aftermath. The dropping of charges against Baldwin does not absolve him of criminal culpability, and the possibility of charges being refiled remains. The tragedy of Hutchins's death remains, and the family is still dealing with the loss of their loved one. The investigation into the tragedy will continue, and hopefully, the truth about what happened will be revealed. Meanwhile, filming for "Rust" has resumed, and the movie is expected to be completed soon.


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