Prosecutors Downgrade Baldwin’s Charges in Shooting Case

    Prosecutors Downgrade Baldwin’s Charges in Shooting Case
    Last updated Feb 21, 2023
    Image credit: Al Jazeera and News Agencies


    • Actor Alec Baldwin will not face the possibility of enhanced sentencing in a case involving the fatal 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust, according to a court filing that was made public Monday.
    • Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on set, were each charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their lawyers argued that the Santa Fe County [New Mexico] district attorney had incorrectly charged them under a new law that took effect after the shooting.
    • The initial charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were punishable by up to five years in jail because of a "firearm enhancement penalty" that went into effect in 2022. The reduced charges are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5K fine. Involuntary manslaughter is a charge brought when unintentional negligence results in death.
    • A spokeswoman for the District Attorney said Monday that the decision to amend the charges against Baldwin was made "to avoid further litigious distractions.” Prosecutors filed the amended charges Friday, according to court filings.
    • Hutchins, 42, died in the hospital after she was shot in the chest by a prop gun fired by Baldwin whose lawyer, Luke Nikas, has said the actor "had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set."


    Narrative A

    Even if this killing was accidental, Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed's actions were still criminal. The pair were horrendously negligent in how they handled the gun. Hutchins' tragic death was avoidable, and those responsible must be held to account.

    Narrative B

    This was an incredibly rare tragedy unforeseen by anyone on the film crew. First of all, both Gutierrez-Reed and Baldwin were told by weapons professionals the gun wasn’t loaded. Second, it was Hutchins who told Baldwin to point the gun toward her as she was setting up the camera for a scene. Wrongfully indicting people won't bring Hutchins back and won't serve justice.

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