Judge To Rule Next Week On Baldwin Bid To Avoid ‘Rust’ Trial

Baldwin Avoid Rust Trial

A New Mexico judge announced on Friday that she will rule next week on Alec Baldwin’s requests to dismiss charges against him in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin is trying to avoid an unprecedented Hollywood manslaughter trial for an on-set death.

Baldwin’s lawyers filed motions to dismiss his indictment, alleging prosecutorial misconduct, failure to show the actor committed a crime, and destruction of evidence during testing of the gun Baldwin used in 2021 during a rehearsal on the New Mexico set of ‘Rust.’

“We need the court to move in and check this abuse of power,” Baldwin’s attorney Alex Spiro said during a virtual court hearing before Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer. Judge Sommer will preside over Baldwin’s case if it reaches a trial scheduled to start on July 10.

During the contentious hearing, New Mexico state special prosecutor Kari Morrissey denied allegations from Baldwin’s lawyer Luke Nikas that she hid evidence from the grand jury that indicted Baldwin in January.

Morrissey said grand jurors were presented with evidence showing Baldwin exhibited criminal negligence when he pointed the gun at Hutchins, violating industry-wide safety rules. “The actor has responsibility for the firearms once it is in their hands,” Morrissey stated.

Written decision next week

Instead of issuing an immediate ruling, Judge Sommer said she would provide a written decision on Baldwin’s request next week.

Hutchins died after Baldwin pointed a gun at her and shot a live round as she set up a camera. The “30 Rock” actor maintains he did not pull the trigger, an assertion central to the case.

In April, Sommer sentenced “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez to 18 months in prison after a Santa Fe jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter for loading the live round into the reproduction Colt Single Action Army revolver Baldwin used during rehearsal.

Hutchins’ death marked the first on-set fatal shooting involving a live round mistaken for a dummy or blank round since Hollywood’s silent era, according to historian Alan Rode.

Hollywood on-set shootings have previously been settled through civil lawsuits, such as the 1993 fatality when Brandon Lee died after a blank round dislodged a bullet stuck in a revolver’s barrel during filming of “The Crow,” according to UCLA film historian Jonathan Kuntz.