Alec Baldwin Has Charges Reduced Against Him in Shooting Death

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

One of the charges against Alec Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins has now been downgraded. Whereas they previously faced a possible five-year prison term on one of the two charges because of a firearm enhancement, the Santa Fe District Attorney has now downgraded that second charge, removing that enhancement and the possibility of the five-year term.

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Now, the most that Baldwin or Gutierrez-Reed could serve for involuntary manslaughter is 18 months. They were charged in the alternative, meaning that they face two charges and the jury will decide which is more appropriate under the circumstances: the first charge simple involuntary manslaughter, and the second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which “requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.”

Baldwin’s attorneys had argued against the firearm enhancement in a motion saying that the prosecutors had charged him under a version that wasn’t in existence at the time of the alleged crime in October 2021.

In October 2021, the enhancement applied when “a firearm was brandished in the commission of a noncapital felony,” with “brandished” defined as “displaying or making a firearm known to another person while the firearm is present on the person of the offending party with intent to intimidate or injure a person.” A newer version requires only that a firearm be “discharged.”

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The situation doesn’t fit brandishing, it does fit “discharged.” But you can’t apply laws retroactively that weren’t in effect at the time of the crime. So in this case, it doesn’t appear to be a case of favoritism for Baldwin, but truly a charge that should not have been applied to him.

From Fox News:

“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,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”

In response, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement that the armorer’s legal team “applaud(s) the decision by the District Attorney and it was the right call, ethically, and on the merits.” THR has reached out to Baldwin’s legal representation for comment.

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While Baldwin now faces less potential time if convicted, he’s also now facing a lawsuit from the family of Halyna Hutchins.

The ruling comes less than two weeks after Baldwin’s legal troubles continued to worsen when the Ukrainian family of Hutchins — her father, mother and sister — sued him and others involved with the production, citing battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and loss of consortium or the impact of Hutchins’s death on her personal relationships.

Baldwin previously settled a lawsuit with Hutchins’ husband.

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