Alec Baldwin no longer facing firearm enhancement in manslaughter charge, prosecutors say
Prosecutors in New Mexico have dropped a firearm enhancement from one of the manslaughter charges against actor and producer Alec Baldwin, officials announced Monday. Baldwin still faces two charges of involuntary manslaughter in the deadly shooting on the set of his Western film "Rust" in 2021.
With the firearm enhancement, Baldwin could have faced a mandatory five-year sentence if he was convicted in the death of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin was holding a gun during a rehearsal when it discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
Baldwin has said he didn't pull the gun's trigger. Prosecutors said the weapon couldn't fire without the trigger being pressed.
Baldwin's attorneys had been fighting against the enhancement in court, arguing that prosecutors used a 2022 version of the law that didn't apply to the 2021 shooting.
Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, said in a statement the decision to drop the enhancement was made "in order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys."
"The prosecution's priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys," Brewer said.
Prosecutors made the same change to one of the charges against the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. "We applaud the decision and it was the right call," Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, said in a statement.
An attorney for Baldwin declined to comment immediately following Monday's developments.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are scheduled to make their initial court appearances Friday morning. Both defendants are expected to make their appearances remotely via an online connection, a court spokesperson said earlier this month.
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