Alec Baldwin may have dodged a bullet when prosecutors in the Rust case dropped all involuntary manslaughter charges for the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in April of this year.
A new report, however, has put the disgraced Hollywood actor back in the crosshairs, revealing that the trigger of the gun that shot and killed Hutchins was indeed pulled.
Variety reports that a new forensic examination of the Colt .45 manipulated by Baldwin, moments before Hutchins was shot and killed, was commissioned by special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis earlier this month.
The outlet notes that the report, written by forensic scientists Lucien and Michael Haag, was released on Tuesday the 15th of August, which concluded, “This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger.”
“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” the report added.
The analysis by the aforementioned forensic scientists was able to be conducted after the experts reconstructed the gun that Baldwin manipulated in October of 2021 on the set of Rust — reportedly broken by the FBI during the testing process — and concluded that the gun could not have fired without the actor pulling the trigger.
In June of this year, a court filing argued that Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had a history of “reckless conduct” on set, alleging that she was “drinking heavily and smoking marijuana in the evenings during the shooting of ‘Rust.'”
At the time, prosecutors claimed, “It is likely that Defendant Gutierrez was hung over when she inserted a live bullet into a gun that she knew was going to be used at some point by an actor while filming a shooting scene with other actors and crew members.”
Further, the legal document noted that the reason Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter charges had been dismissed was due to “a possible malfunction of the gun significantly effects causation with regard to Baldwin, not with regard to Gutierrez.”
“If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed,” the filing further added.
The new report written by the Haags agrees with an investigation conducted by the FBI in 2022, which also concluded that “the gun could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.”
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin claimed that he did not pull the trigger of the gun, recalling that he was only cocking the gun’s hammer when it went off — contradicting his own version of the story he had told just moments earlier.
“So I take the gun and I start to cock the gun. I’m not going to pull the trigger. I said, ‘Do you see this?’ She says, ‘Well, just cheat it down and tilt it down a little bit like that.’ And I cock the gun and I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ And she says…and I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off,” Baldwin said in the now infamous interview.
Contradicting his own recollection of the tragic event that not only killed Hutchins but also injured director Joel Souza, Baldwin would go on to claim that he didn’t cock the gun at all, and that he remembers pulling “the hammer as far back as I could without cocking the actual…”
While Baldwin has yet to be charged again, Morrissey notes that a formal announcement addressing the Haags’ report is yet to be made. “I expect that decision to be forthcoming,” the special prosecutor wrote in an email.