Alec Baldwin Still Liable In Rust Shooting Even With Charges Dropped

Though the charges Alec Baldwin was facing in the Rust trial have been dropped, the investigation is still ongoing and can be picked back up at any time.

By Robert Scucci | Updated

alec baldwin jail

According to Deadline, there is some good news for Alec Baldwin in regard to the fatal shooting incident that occurred on the Rust set in October 2021. For the time being, his two involuntary manslaughter charges have been dropped, but this doesn’t mean that Baldwin is fully absolved from culpability. Though the charges are currently dropped, they were dropped without prejudice, meaning that the investigation is still ongoing, and charges can be refiled in the future.

The reason for this change of course in the Alec Baldwin case is that new evidence has surfaced, and needs to be considered. The prosecutors on the case, Kari Morrisey, and Jason Lewis, stated that with the current timeline, and the current state of existing evidence, they would not be able to proceed further with the case for the time being. In other words, though the preliminary hearing was originally slated for May 3, 2023, the new facts and evidence that have surfaced need more time to be properly analyzed, which will take some time.

The Rust incident occurred when Alec Baldwin was practicing a cross-draw with the prop gun on the set before filming. The gun, supplied by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, misfired, striking and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchens, and injuring director, Joel Souza, which immediately caused the film to halt production.

Though Alec Baldwin’s criminal charges have been officially dropped on Thursday, April 20, the prosecutors can refile at any time if they find that the new evidence, which has yet to be revealed, gives them a stronger case. As of now, the misfiring of the prop gun that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchens dead at 42 years old, and director Joel Souza injured, has been considered an accident. And Baldwin’s attorneys have gone on record stating that they are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case, though they still encourage a proper investigation in light of the new evidence.

In other words, if the new evidence is not compelling enough to indicate anything other than an accident, then Alex Baldwin will be fully exonerated.

alec baldwin rust

The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, however, is still facing two involuntary manslaughter charges for the fatal misfiring, and her preliminary hearing will start on May 3. Though she intends to plead not guilty, the question of how live rounds ended up in the prop gun still needs to be answered. And, hopefully, the new evidence will shed some light on how Alec Baldwin’s gun misfired on the set.

But Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys are confident that “by the end of this process, [she] will also be exonerated.” They went on to say that they are also seeking the truth, and they will always welcome a thorough approach to the entire investigation. In other words, though Gutierrez-Reed’s charges have not been dropped like Alec Baldwin’s, her attorneys are confident that the evidence will be in Gutierrez-Reed’s favor.

Though Alec Baldwin has repeatedly insisted that he did not pull the trigger on the 1880s prop gun, the FBI‘s forensic report on the shooting states that the gun used on set couldn’t have been fired unless somebody pulled the trigger. But with new evidence surfacing in regard to the Rust shooting, there may be an explanation as to why what was thought to be a “cold gun” fired off a live round.

This new development has also pushed back the production timeline for Alec Baldwin and the rest of the cast and crew. Rust still has about 20 days left of filming before wrapping production, and sources close to the film say that Alec Baldwin was on set Thursday. But production may be pushed back once again if the investigation has more legal implications.