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Actor Alec Baldwin Could Still Face Charges in Rust Shooting – Prosecutors say

American actor, Alec Baldwin could still face charges in the fatal shooting on the set of Rust, if forensic tests determine the gun involved did not malfunction, prosecutors in New Mexico have revealed.

 

In a recent court filing, Santa Fe County prosecutors said they would decide within the next 60 days whether to file new charges, after sending the gun that fired the fatal bullet for further testing.

 

Baldwin, 65, was holding the Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver as a prop during filming of his Western movie when it discharged on set in October 2021, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

 

The actor had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, but that charge was dropped in April after prosecutors said new evidence showed that the gun’s hammer had been modified, raising questions about whether the gun might fire without a trigger pull.

 

Baldwin insisted he never pulled the trigger, but a prior FBI test of the gun had found it would not fire unless the trigger was pulled.

 

Now, prosecutors in New Mexico say that the ‘sear’ of the gun, which holds the hammer in a cocked position until the trigger is pulled, was damaged during testing by the FBI. They also believe the hammer may have been modified.

 

Prosecutors say additional testing from the state’s independent expert is required to see how the hammer was modified, the source of the modification, and what impact it might have on the firearm’s performance.

 

‘If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed,’ prosecutors wrote in a court filing on Friday in the case of Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who remains charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case.

‘The prosecution anticipates making a final charging decision with regard to Mr. Baldwin within the next sixty days,’ added the motion from special prosecutors Kari Morrisey and Jason Lewis.

An attorney for Baldwin did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday evening.

 

Miguel Custodio, a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles who is not connected with the case, criticized prosecutors for publicly announcing the possibility of fresh charges, calling it ‘another mistake’ in a case fraught with unforced errors.

‘They created an unnecessary deadline for themselves by announcing they would decide on charging Alec Baldwin within 60 days,’ Custodio said in remarks to DailyMail.com.

‘They didn’t have to say anything, but now they have to make a public decision by mid-August or they’ll wind up adding to the impression that the case is progressing in chaos mode, just as the Rust set was. It’s full-on dysfunction,’ he added.

 

Baldwin was initially charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, including one with a firearms enhancement that could have added years to any prison sentence upon conviction.

But the enhanced charge was dropped after it emerged that it had been brought under a law that did not exist at the time of the shooting, in a seemingly rookie legal blunder by prosecutors.

 

The remaining charge was dropped in April following new evidence regarding the fatal gun, adding to the appearance of chaos.

 

The evidence apparently concerned modifications to the reproduction long Colt .45 revolver Baldwin was using in the scene.

‘The modification appears to be related to the notches on the internal portion of the hammer for full cock, half cock, and quarter cock positions,’ prosecutors said in court documents.

‘It appears that these notches may have been partially removed or ground down so that they are less prominent.’

At present, Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s weapon’s handler, is the only person still facing charges over Hutchins’ death. She has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

 

The prosecutors Morrisey and Lewis have said that while the condition of the gun has significant implications for the charges against Baldwin, that is not the case for Gutierrez-Reed.

 

Gutierrez-Reed has said she loaded the live round into the revolver used by Baldwin, thinking it was a dummy round.

 

However, her attorney has previously insisted that she never bought nor had access to live ammunition, and had no role in bringing a real bullet on set.

 

Prosecutors said in a recent filing there is ‘some evidence’ to support the theory that Gutierrez-Reed introduced the live round, pointing to four spent shell casings in her gun kit bag that appear to match live rounds found on the New Mexico set.

Written by PH

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