Judge Rejects Alec Baldwin’s Request to Dismiss ‘Rust’ Shooting Manslaughter Charge

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Alec Baldwin’s attempt to dismiss the criminal charge from the fatal “Rust” movie shooting has been denied by a New Mexico judge, setting the stage for a trial this summer.

Special prosecutors have brushed off claims that the grand jury process was flawed and accused Baldwin of making “shameless” efforts to avoid responsibility. They pointed out inconsistencies in his statements to law enforcement, workplace safety regulators, and in a televised interview.

The judge’s decision on Friday clears a major hurdle, allowing prosecutors to proceed with a July trial.

While rehearsing on the set of the Western film, Baldwin pointed a gun at Hutchins, which discharged, leading to her death and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin has claimed he pulled back the gun’s hammer but did not pull the trigger.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, potentially facing up to 1.5 years in prison.

After reviewing the transcripts of the January grand jury proceedings, Judge Marlowe Sommer refuted the argument that prosecutors acted in “bad faith,” pointing out that New Mexico law does not require exculpatory evidence to be presented to a grand jury.

“New Mexico law does not require a prosecutor to present exculpatory evidence to a grand jury, or require a grand jury to even consider exculpatory evidence after alerted to its existence,” the judge noted.

During last week’s court arguments, which lasted over two hours, Baldwin’s defense claimed prosecutors interrupted grand jurors’ questioning and did not engage with defense witnesses. Records from the grand jury proceedings are not publicly accessible.

Lead special prosecutor Kari Morrissey stated that jurors had their questions answered by knowledgeable witnesses and were made aware of the evidence boxes provided by the defense. Baldwin did not attend the hearing.

Previous involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin were dropped last year after reports suggested the gun might have been modified and malfunctioned. However, a new analysis rekindled the case.

Prosecutors have now turned their attention to Baldwin following the April conviction and sentencing of weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed to the maximum 1.5 years in prison for Hutchins’ death.

Baldwin featured prominently in testimony and closing arguments, emphasizing his role as a co-producer and lead actor on “Rust.” Both sides in Gutierrez-Reed’s trial examined video footage of Baldwin before the fatal incident for insights into firearms safety lapses.

Prosecutors allege Gutierrez-Reed unintentionally introduced live ammunition onto the “Rust” set, where it was prohibited, and neglected essential gun safety measures. Gutierrez-Reed is appealing her conviction but has not yet presented detailed arguments.

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