Judge denies Alec Baldwin's motion to dismiss manslaughter case

Judge denies Alec Baldwin’s motion to dismiss manslaughter case

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected each of Baldwin's lawyers' arguments for dismissal
/ 11:25 PM May 24, 2024

Alec Baldwin charged again with manslaughter in 'Rust' movie-set shooting

Actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

LOS ANGELES – A judge Friday denied Alec Baldwin’s motion to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge against him stemming from the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust” in 2021.

Baldwin’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the indictment in March.

They accused prosecutors of engaging in misconduct and said they “publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their improprieties — without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two and a half years.”

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In her ruling in New Mexico on Friday, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected each of Baldwin’s lawyers’ arguments for dismissal, finding that the grand jury process was not prejudiced against the actor. Baldwin’s trial is scheduled to begin July 10.

He was indicted by a New Mexico grand jury on Jan. 19.

It was the second time he was charged in the case. He had been similarly charged in January 2023 and pleaded not guilty — but in April 2023 prosecutors dropped the charges, citing “new facts” that left them unable to immediately proceed with the case.


Those charges were dropped as Baldwin’s attorneys questioned whether the prop gun that Baldwin was holding on the movie set during a rehearsal was functioning properly when it fired a live round that killed Hutchins and wounded film director Joel Souza.

“We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, said in a statement following the indictment in January.

Baldwin has maintained he did not pull the trigger on the gun, and had been told it was “cold” — meaning, it did not contain live ammunition.


According to reports, special prosecutors had further tests conducted on the weapon after charges were dropped last year and concluded there was evidence to re-try the case.

Baldwin had originally been charged along with the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, with involuntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act stemming from the Oct. 21, 2021 shooting of Hutchins with the prop gun wielded by Baldwin.

At the time, New Mexico special prosecutors Kari T. Morrissey and Jason J. Lewis said they were not able to move forward with the criminal case against Baldwin.

“Over the last few days and in preparation for the May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against (Baldwin),” according to the prosecutors. “Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form.

“We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation.”

Hutchins, 42, was fatally shot as Baldwin was holding the gun while helping to set camera angles for an upcoming scene.

Baldwin, who was also a producer on the film, has insisted that while he pulled back the hammer on the weapon, he never pulled the trigger.

Nikas said previously that Baldwin bore no responsibility in the shooting, saying he was assured the gun contained no live ammunition, and he “relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.”

Gutierrez-Reed, who also pleaded not guilty, is serving an 18-month prison sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in March. Prosecutors argued that she was sloppy and unprofessional, and that she failed to make sure that no live rounds made their way to set.

“Rust” assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest earlier to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon in exchange for a suspended sentence and six months probation.

Sheriff’s investigators determined that live ammunition was found on the “Rust” set, mixed with blanks that are traditionally used in film production.

Hutchins’ death led to industry-wide calls for improvements in on-set safety, particularly in regard to the use of firearms.

Filming on “Rust” was suspended after the shooting, but has since resumed, with Hutchins’ husband serving as a producer under the terms of a lawsuit settlement.

Hutchins’ parents, Olga Solovey and Anatolii Androsovych, and the film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, have also filed a civil lawsuit in the case. (CNS)

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TAGS: celebrities, crime, manslaughter
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