Alec Baldwin Indicted On Charge Of Involuntary Manslaughter In ‘Rust’ Shooting

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 06: Alec Baldwin attends The Roundabout Gala 2023 at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on March 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Alec Baldwin was indicted Friday by a grand jury on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2021 shooting on the set of the film “Rust” that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and injured director Joel Souza.

Two special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, presented their case this week to a grand jury after receiving further analysis about the gun used, Variety reported. The report found that the shooting occurred by a “pull or rearward depression of the trigger,” something Baldwin previously had been adamant he hadn’t done.

“This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger,” the report concluded. “Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, released a statement on Friday that read, “We look forward to our day in court.”

Two sources previously told NBC News that New Mexico prosecutors intended to recharge the 65-year-old actor after previously dropping the criminal charges against him, citing “new facts.”

At the time, Nikas and Alex Spiro said, “It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution. We will answer any charges in court.”

In January 2023, the Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office charged Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The charges were dismissed without prejudice in April after the actor’s legal team claimed the gun had been modified in some way which caused it to malfunction, the Associated Press noted. 

Prosecutors made clear at the time, “This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled.”

“The gun and broken sear have been sent to the state’s independent expert for further testing,” the office said at the time. “The charges against Alec Baldwin were dismissed without prejudice because a possible malfunction of the gun significantly affects causation with regard to Baldwin, not with regard to Gutierrez. If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed.”

The state of New Mexico brought in gun analysts Lucien Haag and Mike Haag in its case against “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed to determine if the gun had been modified. That report determined the “trigger had to pulled or depressed.”

In October 2021, the “30 Rock” star was involved in the shooting of Hutchins on the New Mexico film set. The firearm Baldwin was holding discharged a bullet. Baldwin has repeatedly maintained that there was “no trigger pull.”

Gutierrez-Reed was charged with involuntary manslaughter and pleaded not guilty, the AP noted. Her trial is set for February 21, 2024, Variety noted.

If convicted the “Saturday Night Live” star could spend up to 18 months in prison, Variety noted.

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