In a fairly disappointing yet expected turn of events, prosecutors are expected to drop the manslaughter charges filed against Alec Baldwin relating to the shooting accident which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of Rust.
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“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,” read a statement issued by Baldwin’s lawyers Luke Nikas and Alex Shapiro on April 20th.
Baldwin and Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were formally charged with involuntary manslaughter on the 31st of January, over one year after the tragic on-set shooting took place.
Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion, the lawyers representing Gutierrez-Reed, also issued a statement following the Nikas and Shapiro’s announcement.
“The new special prosecutor team has taken a very diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and have always welcomed,” said the attorneys. “They are seeking the truth and we are also. 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.”
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Both the actor and the armourer’s charges – which in accordance with the New Mexico criminal sentencing statute 31-18-16 could’ve seen them facing up to 5 years in jail for discharging a firearm “in the commission of a noncapital felony” – were downgraded not long after.
This development came just a few days after Baldwin’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss special prosecutor Andrea Reeb on the grounds that her right-leaning political affiliation could influence her decision to prosecute the openly Democrat actor.
On the 14th of March, Reeb announced that she would be stepping down from her role as special prosecutor.
“My priority in this case—and in every case I’ve prosecuted in my 25-year career—has been justice for the victim,” she declared in a statement. “However, it has become clear that the best way I can ensure justice is served in this case is to step down so that the prosecution can focus on the evidence and the facts, which clearly show a complete disregard for basic safety protocols led to the death of Halyna Hutchins.”
“I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand,” Reeb concluded.
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First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, who had been attached to the case since the very beginning, likewise stepped down from her role just a few weeks after Reeb’s resignation.
“My responsibility to the people of the First Judicial District is greater than any one case, which is why I have chosen to appoint a special prosecutor in the ‘Rust’ case,” said Carmack-Attwies’ in a statement. “Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis will unflinchingly pursue justice in the death of Halyna Hutchins on behalf of the people of First Judicial District.”
In February, former Rust Assistant Director David Halls, the man who actually handed the loaded gun to Baldwin the day of the tragic shooting, “signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.”
After signing the plea, Halls received a jail sentence that was later suspended by Judge Mary Marlowe Summer for a sentence of six months of “unsupervised probation.”
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Following the dropping of the charges against him, the disgraced actor took to social media to share a rather tone-deaf post thanking his wife Hilaria and lawyer Luke Nikas for their support.
“I owe everything I have to this woman,” prefaced Baldwin, sharing a picture of himself and his wife enjoying a night out. The actor limited who can leave a comment under his Instagram post.
Baldwin’s wife Hilaria also took to social media to share a tasteless post which framed the couple as victims of injustice whose nightmare was finally over.
NEXT: Alec Baldwin No Longer Facing Five-Year Minimum Jail Sentence As Prosecutors Downgrade Charges In ‘Rust’ Involuntary Manslaughter Case