Alec Baldwin Awaits Ruling on Dismissal of Involuntary Manslaughter Indictment for “Rust” Movie Shooting

Alec Baldwin, the actor and co-producer of the film “Rust,” may soon see the dismissal of an indictment against him for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The New Mexico judge presiding over the case announced on Friday that she will issue her ruling on the matter next week.

Mr. Baldwin was indicted in January for involuntary manslaughter following the shooting on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021. He has pleaded not guilty, and if convicted, he could face a maximum prison sentence of 1.5 years.

During a virtual hearing on Friday, Mr. Baldwin’s legal team argued that the grand jury received a biased and one-sided presentation of the evidence against him. They claimed that prosecutors steered jurors away from exculpatory evidence and witnesses.

The key issue in the hearing was whether the grand jury was informed of their right to hear testimony from Mr. Baldwin’s witnesses. His lawyers argued that prosecutors failed to present exculpatory evidence and flouted the rules of grand jury proceedings.

Special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey firmly denied any allegations of bad faith. She maintained that she did not obstruct the jurors from receiving answers to their questions or seeking additional information. Ms. Morrissey told the judge that the jurors were given written instructions clarifying their right to question other witnesses, including those who might support the defense.

However, Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers argued that jurors were not called to hear testimony from key defense witnesses, such as film director Joel Souza, property master Sarah Zachry, and assistant director David Halls. Instead, the jurors heard from police officers, a crew member present at the church set, and expert witnesses hired by the prosecution.

The shooting happened during a rehearsal when Mr. Baldwin was pointing a gun at Ms. Hutchins. The revolver went off, killing her and injuring Mr. Souza.

During the hearing, Ms. Morrissey revealed that evidence presented by Mr. Baldwin’s lead attorney, Luke Nikas, had influenced last year’s decision to drop the charges against Mr. Baldwin. This evidence suggested that the gun Mr. Baldwin used had been modified, but subsequent tests revealed that the gun was functional.

The judge questioned Ms. Morrissey on her decisions during the grand jury proceedings. In one instance, Ms. Morrissey interrupted a sheriff’s deputy who was discussing gun safety measures on set. Ms. Morrissey explained that the deputy was not an expert on film set protocols, and she wanted the jurors to receive accurate information from a veteran film crew member who was an expert witness.

Mr. Baldwin’s attorneys also criticized Ms. Morrissey for disclosing the grand jury meeting date during a media interview. Ms. Morrissey admitted she had provided the initial date to a reporter, but the matter was postponed, and the grand jury did not convene until two months later, in mid-January.

The hearing follows the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the “Rust” set. Ms. Gutierrez-Reed is appealing her 18-month prison sentence.

Mr. Baldwin’s trial is set to begin on July 9 and is expected to last eight days


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