charge are thrown against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halina Hutchins on the set of his Western film “Rust” after “new facts” emerged in recent days, authorities said Thursday.
The announcement came two months after New Mexico prosecutors filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin.
In a statement, the special prosecutors appointed by New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweiss to handle the case said new facts emerged as authorities prepared for a May 3 preliminary hearing.
The statement, from Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, doesn’t say what those facts are, but says they require additional investigation and forensic analysis.
“As a result, we cannot proceed further under the constraints of the present time and on the facts and evidence uncovered by law enforcement in their current form,” prosecutors said. “We will therefore be dropping the charges of involuntary manslaughter against Mr Baldwin pending further investigation.”
Prosecutors said the decision “does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability.” He said charges could be filed again.
Allegations Against Baldwin’s Co-Defendant, “Rust” Armer Hannah Gutierrez-Reidremain unchanged, prosecutors said.
Los Angeles Times And wall street journal The report contained new information in the matter that the prop gun used in the fatal shooting had been modified. A source familiar with the investigation confirmed the report to NBC News.
Baldwin has said that he did not pull the trigger.
Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nicks 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.”
Attorneys for Gutierrez-Reid said that the special prosecutors have taken a diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and always welcome.”
“They are searching for the truth and so are we,” attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion said in a statement. We sincerely hope that at the end of this process, Hannah will be acquitted as well.
University of New Mexico law professor Joshua Kaestenberg, a former attorney and Air Force judge who questioned the strength of the DA’s case, said he was surprised by Thursday’s sudden turn of events.
“The thing that surprised me the most is that I feel really bad for the family of the woman who died,” Kastenberg said.
“I’m sure the decision not to prosecute Baldwin is difficult for him to handle”, he said. “Nothing was ever going to bring their baby back, so I’m sure there are a lot of disappointments out there.”
Hutchins, 42, was shot and killed on October 21, 2021, while filming the film at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico.
Baldwin was rehearsing for a scene with a pistol when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
The case appeared to tangle from the start, when special prosecutor Andrea Reeb was forced to resign amid defense claims that she had a conflict of interest.
Baldwin’s team noted that Reeb is also a New Mexico state representative, and that her work for the DA would mean she lives in two different lanes of government, which should be separated.
The district attorney is “deemed to be a member of the judicial or executive branch of the government of New Mexico,” Baldwin’s legal team said in a filing.
And legal analysts said the state was always going to have a difficult burden to prove Hutchins’ death was anything more than a tragic accident.
Filming of “Rust” resumed Thursday at Yellowstone Ranch in Montana. Sources close to the production said the film required at least 20 more days of filming, and that Baldwin was on set on Thursday.
The film’s plot centers on a 13-year-old boy left to fend for himself and his younger brother after the death of his parents in 1880s Kansas.
After being sentenced to death for accidentally killing a local rancher, the youth go on the run with their long-estranged grandfather Harland Rust, played by Baldwin.
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