Alec Baldwin scored a substantial legal victory Monday when the Santa Fe County, New Mexico, district attorney dropped the gun enhancement charge against the actor in the case over the shooting death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The dropped charge means Baldwin will not face any longer than 18 months in prison, even if he is convicted of involuntary manslaughter, TMZ reported. For Baldwin to be convicted of the gun enhancement charge, prosecutors would have to prove that he brandished the firearm with intent to harm or intimidate a person.
“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set,” a spokesperson for First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told Fox News Digital. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
With the gun enhancement charge tacked on, Baldwin would have faced a mandatory five years behind bars if convicted, Fox News reported. Earlier this month, Baldwin’s lawyers challenged the charge, arguing it was unconstitutional.
“The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,” a legal filing stated.
Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter last month over the fatal shooting of Hutchins in October 2021. In a probable cause statement, prosecutors allege that Baldwin “drew the revolver from the holster, pointed it at Halyna Hutchins, and fired the weapon.”
The actor has maintained that he is not responsible for Hutchins’ death on the set.
“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 told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in December 2021. “I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible, and I don’t say that lightly.”
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the person allegedly responsible for handling guns on the movie set, also faces an involuntary manslaughter charge.