Alec Baldwin Getting Rust Shooting Case Thrown Out?

By Charlene Badasie | Published

alec baldwin rust

The legal team for Alec Baldwin wants to get his involuntary manslaughter case thrown out before it goes to trial in July. However, according to former L.A. Deputy District Attorney Emily D. Baker, the odds of that happening are very unlikely. “It is very rare for grand jury indictments to be dismissed,” she explained. “The prosecution has very, very wide latitude at how they conduct a grand jury.”

Alec Baldwin Indicted In January

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Alec Baldwin was indicted in January 2024 for his part in the accidental death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The tragic incident took place on the set of the Western movie Rust in New Mexico in October 2021.

During rehearsal, a gun that was not supposed to be loaded with live ammunition fired, resulting in Hutchins’s death and the injury of director Joel Souza.

Alec Baldwin, who was handling the gun, and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the person responsible for the firearms on set, were both charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March 2024. Baldwin has maintained his innocence, stating that he believed the gun contained dummy rounds and that he was not responsible for the tragedy.

Complex Legal Proceedings

The legal proceedings have been complex thus far. However, Baker explains that Alec Baldwin could find some respite in technical errors made by the prosecution.

“The strongest argument is the argument that the state did not present the instructions to the grand jury accurately,” she said. “Those are the types of potential errors that can get things overturned.”

“So if there was an error in the way the grand jury got the grand jury instructions, that can be an issue that warrants an indictment getting thrown out,” Baker continued about the Alec Baldwin case.

Grand Jury Instructions?

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As such, the motion to dismiss can be based on special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey giving “prejudicial” instructions to the grand jury, saying, “It must find probable cause” for the following elements.

“(1) The target discharged a firearm during the production of the movie without first verifying the firearm contained no live ammunition and while the firearm was pointed in the direction of another. (2) The target should have known the danger involved from the target’s actions. (3) The target acted with a willful disregard for the safety of others. (4) The target’s act caused the death of Halyna Hutchins.”

Refuting Alec Baldwin’s Claims

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Morrissey added the italicized wording despite previously arguing to the court that Alec Baldwin’s request for instruction on subjective knowledge was wrong because it assumes “factual basis of the negligent act was failing to check the firearm for live rounds.”

Therefore, as stated in the motion to dismiss, altering the jury instruction wasn’t justified.

However, the prosecutors refute Alec Baldwin’s claims, stating they followed proper procedures in filling in the necessary language for the jury instruction. The next steps involve Baldwin’s team responding to the prosecution’s claims, and the judge will ultimately decide on the motion to dismiss. Despite the legal back-and-forth, having a large legal team gives Baldwin an advantage.

Rust Allegations

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Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of the movie Rust, received the maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter related to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

While Baker suggests this should serve as a serious warning for Alec Baldwin, the actor’s legal team may be open to a plea deal similar to the one offered in October 2023.

Sharing Responsibility?

It is important to note that Gutierrez-Reed’s conviction doesn’t guarantee Alec Baldwin’s fate. However, if the prosecution makes a good case, sympathy may wane, given industry safety protocols.

The defense might blame Gutierrez-Reed, but Baker notes that both could share responsibility, as indicated by Judge Sommer’s comment during sentencing.

Although the Alec Baldwin case has gained significant attention from the global press due to the high-profile nature of the individuals involved and the tragic outcome of the shooting, the prosecutors, who are handling multiple cases, might be stretched thin as they dealing with the extensive paperwork in preparation for trial.

Source: People