Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' manslaughter charges downgraded, cutting possible prison time

The '30 Rock' actor has denied responsibility for the shooting, which occurred as a revolver he was rehearsing with fired a live round that killed Hutchins

By Reuters

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Alec Baldwin attends the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City, U.S., December 6, 2022.  — Reuters file
Alec Baldwin attends the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City, U.S., December 6, 2022. — Reuters file

Published: Mon 20 Feb 2023, 10:59 PM

Prosecutors have downgraded the involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin, reducing the possible prison time the Hollywood star may face for the 2021 fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust," charging documents showed.

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies had charged Baldwin and the movie's set armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, with two counts of involuntary manslaughter last month for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, with the most serious charge carrying a potential prison sentence of five years in jail.

Carmack-Altwies filed altered charges for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed on Friday, removing the firearm enhancement and reducing their possible prison sentence from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 18 months.

"In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the district attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" film set," Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement.

A lawyer for Baldwin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We applaud the decision of the district attorney to dismiss the firearm enhancement and it was the right call, ethically, and on the merits," said Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez-Reed.

The "30 Rock" actor has denied responsibility for the shooting, which occurred as a revolver he was rehearsing with fired a live round that killed Hutchins. He has said he cocked the revolver but never pulled the trigger and it was the job of Gutierrez-Reed and other weapons professionals to ensure it was unloaded.

Gutierrez-Reed testified to New Mexico's worker safety agency (OSHA) on Dec. 7 that the shooting might have been prevented had she had more time to train Baldwin. She said he had "poor form" when using the revolver.


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