ENTERTAINMENT

Prosecutors to dismiss charges against Alec Baldwin, attorney says

Apr 20, 2023, 4:14 PM

Alex Baldwin...

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Alec Baldwin speaks during the 2021 RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala at New York Hilton Midtown on December 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Prosecutors in the “Rust” fatal shooting case plan to file a notice to dismiss involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin, his attorney, Luke Nikas, tells CNN.

In a statement, Special Prosecutor on the Santa Fe, New Mexico case Kari Morrissey told CNN on Thursday, “It is not appropriate for me to make extra judicial comments at this time.”

She continued, “The time will come when I will be able to fully comment but that time is not now. The dismissal against Mr. Baldwin will be temporary pending further investigation.”

Halyna Hutchins, the film’s cinematographer, was struck and killed by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun being held by Baldwin while rehearsing a scene on the set of “Rust” in 2021. Baldwin has pleaded not guilty.

Director Joel Souza was also shot and injured.

Baldwin and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed were both charged with involuntary manslaughter in January. An attorney for Gutierrez Reed has previously said she will plead not guilty.

Prosecutors already removed a firearm enhancement charge against Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed, reducing a potential prison sentence from 5 years to a maximum of 18 months.

“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” Baldwin’s attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro told CNN.

“We fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be exonerated,” Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion, attorneys for Gutierrez Reed, said in a statement to CNN on Thursday after the news broke that Baldwin’s charges will be dropped.

“The new special prosecutor team has taken a very diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and have always welcomed,” her lawyers added. “They are seeking the truth and we are also. The truth about what happened will come out and the questions that we have long sought answers for will be answered.”

Thursday’s development comes one month after the special prosecutor in the case, Andrea Reeb, stepped down, following a motion by Baldwin’s attorney to have Reeb disqualified as “unconstitutional” under New Mexico law due to her elected position in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies then also stepped away from the case and appointed long-time New Mexico attorneys Morrissey and Jason Lewis to serve as special prosecutors.

Earlier this year, “Rust” assistant director Dave Halls and prosecutors reached a plea agreement “for the charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon.” At the time, prosecutors said the terms of that deal include six months of probation and a suspended sentence.

CNN had reached out to an attorney for Halls for comment.

As part of a wrongful death settlement between Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins, Baldwin, and “Rust” producers, production on the film has resumed. Matthew Hutchins is now serving as an executive producer on the project.

A status hearing in the case is scheduled to take place Friday, according to the First Judicial District Court. The hearing, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET, will live stream on the New Mexico Courts YouTube site.

Judge Mary Marlow Sommer and attorneys are expected to attend the hearing via Google Meet.

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Prosecutors to dismiss charges against Alec Baldwin, attorney says