Judge Denies Alec Baldwin Motion To Dismiss Manslaughter Charge In 'Rust' Shooting

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jun 30, 2024 - 06:00 PM

Authored by Aldgra Fredly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A New Mexico judge on June 28 denied actor Alec Baldwin’s request to dismiss an involuntary manslaughter charge against him relating to the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of his film “Rust.”

Alec Baldwin attends the Roundabout Theatre Company's annual gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City on March 6, 2023. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Previously, Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers requested that the court dismiss the charge, arguing that the firearm involved in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was damaged during FBI forensic testing before defense attorneys could examine it.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected the arguments, stating that Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers failed to establish that the firearm had “an exculpatory value that was apparent before the evidence was destroyed.”

“Rather, a significant amount of evidence indicates that the unaltered firearm did not possess apparent exculpatory value,” she stated in an 18-page ruling.

The judge referenced Mr. Baldwin’s statements to a New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau officer on Dec. 8, 2021, in which he claimed that “the problem didn’t have to do with the gun. It had to do with the bullet.”

“Further, prior to the accidental discharge testing, [FBI forensic examiner Bryce Ziegler] found the firearm to be fully operative and without modification,” the judge added.

Judge Sommer added that Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers also failed to establish that “the State acted in bad faith when destroying certain internal components of the firearm in the course of the accidental discharge testing.”

“In other words, the evidence before the Court does not demonstrate that the State or its agents knew that the unaltered firearm possessed exculpatory value at the time of the accidental discharge testing, and nonetheless destroyed it, thereby indicating that the evidence may have exonerated the Defendant,” she stated.

The judge also ruled that prosecutors must fully disclose to the jury “the destructive nature of the firearm testing, the resulting loss, and its relevance and import.”

Mr. Baldwin is set to stand trial in July.

Ms. Hutchins was killed after a gun Mr. Baldwin was handling discharged on set on Oct. 21, 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

Sheriff’s investigators initially sent the revolver to the FBI for routine testing, but when an FBI analyst heard Mr. Baldwin say in an ABC TV interview that he never pulled the trigger, the agency told local authorities they could conduct an accidental discharge test, though it might damage the gun.

The FBI was told by a team of investigators to go ahead, and tested the revolver by striking it from several angles with a rawhide mallet. One of those strikes fractured the gun’s firing and safety mechanisms.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the shooting and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.