Alec Baldwin may face involuntary manslaughter charge in 'Rust' shooting; prosecutors investigating recommend to grand jury
Category: News & PoliticsVia: perrie-halpern • one month ago • 1 comments
By: Chloe Melas
New Mexico prosecutors intend to re-charge actor Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal 2021 "Rust" shooting, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
One source added that Baldwin's case will be brought before a grand jury in mid-November. There had been recent discussions of a plea deal to a petty misdemeanor that was rescinded over the weekend, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
One of the sources told NBC News that after further investigation, prosecutors no longer believe the gun had been modified and have found new evidence that they believe connects Baldwin to recklessness around safety standards on the set.
"It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution," Baldwin's attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in a statement. "We will answer any charges in court."
This charge could carry up to 18 months in prison if convicted.
"We believe that based on our lengthy and detailed investigation that it is appropriate for a grand jury in New Mexico to make a decision on whether the case should proceed," special prosector Kari Morrissey told NBC News in a statement.
The latest news comes five months after special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis dismissed this same charge against Baldwin citing "new facts" in the case. At the time, they released a statement reserving the right to re-charge Baldwin, stating, "This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled."
The case centers on an incident on the "Rust" film set in October 2021, in which Baldwin's prop gun fired a live round of ammunition, killing the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
Baldwin has maintained in interviews with both ABC News and CNN that he did not pull the trigger.
"I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me," Baldwin said in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in December 2021.
When the involuntary manslaughter charges were dropped earlier this year, prosecutors said the gun might have been modified before the shooting and malfunctioned. A gun analysis report commissioned by the special prosecutors and released in August found that the gun had not been modified.
The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was also charged in January with involuntary manslaughter. In August it was announced that a new trial date had been set for Gutierrez-Reed; the trial was pushed back to Feb. 21, 2024.
Gutierrez-Reed's attorney Jason Bowles has previously said that Gutierrez-Reed will plead not guilty. He declined to comment.
At the time of the original charges, Nikas, Baldwin's attorney, called it "a terrible miscarriage of justice."
In June, Hutchins' husband, Matthew, settled a wrongful death suit with Baldwin and "Rust" producers. Production on "Rust" resumed this spring, and Matthew Hutchins serves as an executive producer on the project.
"All of us believe Halyna's death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna's final work," Hutchins' widower said after the settlement.