DA drops gun enhancement charge against Alec Baldwin in 'Rust' shooting
The Santa Fe District Attorney's Office announced Monday it is dropping the gun enhancement charge -- a crime that would have carried a five-year sentence if convicted -- against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Rust" in October 2021.
Baldwin still faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting, however, that crime would carry a lesser sentence of 18 months if convicted. The amended complaint was filed late Friday.
The charge was also dropped against armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who faces the same involuntary manslaughter charge as Baldwin.
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"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," Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. "The prosecution's priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys."
The decision to drop the charge was a win for Baldwin, who makes his first court appearance on Friday.
Baldwin's legal team filled a motion Feb. 10 arguing that the five-year gun enhancement didn’t apply at the time of the shooting writing, "The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident." The accident occurred in October of 2021, but the current version of the law did not take effect until May 2022.
A week prior, his legal team filed a motion to disqualify Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies, arguing she is also an elected member of the New Mexico House of Representative and therefore has a conflict of interest.
After the motion to dismiss the gun enhancement charge, the district attorney released a statement that also criticized his "fancy attorneys."
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"Another day, another motion from Alec Baldwin and his attorneys in an attempt to distract from the gross negligence and complete disregard for safety on the 'Rust' film set that led to Halyna Hutchins' death," Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said. "In accordance with good legal practice, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor will review all motions -- even those given to the media before being served to the DA. However, the DA's and the special prosecutor's focus will always remain on ensuring that justice is served and that everyone -- even celebrities with fancy attorneys -- is held accountable under the law."
ABC News' Vera Drymon, Matt Fuhrman and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
DA drops gun enhancement charge against Alec Baldwin in 'Rust' shooting originally appeared on abcnews.go.com