Alec Baldwin May Still Face Criminal Charges Over Fatal ‘Rust’ Shooting As New Evidence Reportedly Comes To Light
While prosecutors in the Rust case dropped all involuntary manslaughter charges for the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins earlier this year, a new investigation suggests that the disgraced actor may not be completely off the hook just yet.
Per a Deadline report, Special Prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis issued a statement on Tuesday, declaring, “After extensive investigation over the past several months, additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Joel Souza.”
“We believe the appropriate course of action is to permit a panel of New Mexico citizens to determine from here whether Mr. Baldwin should be held over for criminal trial,” they added.
Responding to the statement, Baldwin’s lawyers Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro proclaimed, “It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution. We will answer any charges in court.”
After being formally charged in February of this year, all involuntary manslaughter charges filed against Baldwin, for the shooting incident that took the life of Rust Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured Director Joel Souza, were dismissed by New Mexico prosecutors in April.
“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 Nikas and Spiro at the time.
In accordance with the New Mexico criminal sentencing statute 31-18-16 both Baldwin and Rust armourer Hannah-Gutierrez Reed could’ve faced up to five years in jail for discharging a firearm “in the commission of a noncapital felony” – charges that were downgraded not long after and eventually dismissed.
A new forensic examination of the Colt .45 manipulated by Baldwin was commissioned by Morrisey and Lewis in August. Conducted by forensic scientists Lucien and Michael Haag, the examination concluded that the trigger had been pulled by the actor; contrary to his own recollection of the event.
“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,” read the Haag’s report, adding, “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.”
Further, the Haags’ report agrees with the FBI’s own investigation conducted in 2022, which 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 a now infamous interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin claimed that he had not pulled the trigger as he cocked the gun’s hammer, contradicting his own recollection of the story he had moments earlier.
“So I take the gun and I start to cock the gun. I’m not going to pull the trigger,” he claimed. “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.”
He would then go on to contradict this version in his recounting of the event, further claiming that he had not cocked the gun at all, as he remembered pulling “the hammer as far back as I could without cocking the actual…””
Do you think Baldwin will face new criminal charges?