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Alec Baldwin charges in “Rust” shooting expected to be dropped, say actor's lawyers

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Alec Baldwin’s attorneys said Thursday they expect New Mexico prosecutors to drop charges against the actor fatal shooting On the sets of his western film “Rust” in 2021. Baldwin was holding a gun while rehearsing a scene when it went off, killing cinematographer Halina Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

“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’s attorneys Luke Nicks and Alex Spiro said in a statement to CBS News. “

This news was first reported by entertainment news outlet deadline.com,

CBS News has reached out to prosecutors for comment.

Baldwin and the film’s armorer was Hannah Gutierrez-Reid. charged with involuntary manslaughter In January. In February, the prosecutor dropped a firearm surge If found guilty, each of them will have to serve a mandatory sentence of five years.

CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson said District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweiss appointed two new special prosecutors to handle the case in late March.

“We basically have to infer that they didn’t think they could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Levinson said.

Baldwin has long denied pulling the trigger of the gun, but prosecutors have said the weapon cannot fire unless the trigger is pulled.

It was not immediately clear how Thursday’s developments affected the prosecution against Gutierrez-Reid.

Levinson said a possible new theory of the case could focus more on Gutierrez-Reid.

Levinson said, “If it’s his fault, if he’s engaged in criminal conduct, it makes sense, based on a theory of the matter, well, he could have relied on that.”

Lawyers for Gutierrez-Reid said they expected their client to be acquitted.

“The new special prosecutor team has taken a very diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and will always welcome,” attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion said in a statement to CBS News. “They’re looking for the truth and so are we. The truth about what happened will come out and the questions we’ve been seeking for a long time will be answered. We sincerely hope that at the end of this process, Hannah will also be acquitted.”

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Alex Sundby

Alex Sundby is senior editor at CBSNews.com