Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter charges were officially dismissed Friday.
Special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis announced the decision Thursday as “new facts” have been revealed that require further investigation. In their motion to dismiss, the special prosecutors noted the further investigation and forensic analysis required cannot be completed before the start of the preliminary hearing May 3.
The case has been closed in the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico, but Baldwin could potentially still face new charges in the future.
Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter in January after a gun he was holding fired on the set of “Rust,” killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin still faces a handful of civil lawsuits including one brought by “Rust” script supervisor Mamie Mitchell along with another by Hutchins’ mother, father and sister. Both parties are represented by attorney Gloria Allred.
“Mr. Baldwin should know that we remain committed to fighting and winning for our clients and holding him accountable for pointing a loaded gun at Halyna Hutchins, pulling the trigger, and killing her,” Allred said in a statement. “Mr. Baldwin may pretend that he is not responsible for pulling the trigger and ejecting a live bullet which ended Halyna’s life.”
“He can run to Montana and pretend that he is just an actor in a wild west movie but, in real life, he cannot escape from the fact that he had a major role in a tragedy which had real life consequences for Halyna, her mother, father, sister, and co-worker,” the statement continued.
In this handout image provided by the lawyer for Halyna Hutchins’ family, Halyna Hutchins is standing next to her sister, Svetlana Zemko. (Provided by attorney Gloria Allred)
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed still faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to Hutchins’ death. A judge agreed to move Gutierrez-Reed’s preliminary hearing to Aug 9. Both the special prosecutor and attorney Jason Bowles agreed to allow more time during a status hearing Friday.
“The new special prosecutor team has taken a very diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and have always welcomed,” Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
Alec Baldwin seen on the “Rust” set on April 21. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
“Rust” has resumed filming since halting production in October 2021. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
“They are seeking the truth, and we are also,” the statement continued. “The truth about what happened will come out, and the questions that we have long sought answers for will be answered. We fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be exonerated.”
Special prosecutors Morrissey and Lewis were weeks away from having to show a judge there was enough evidence for a reasonable person to convict Baldwin at a preliminary hearing expected to last two weeks.
Baldwin had waived his first appearance in court and chose to waive his appearance at the upcoming preliminary hearing. The “mini-trial” was scheduled to begin May 3.
Celebrity defense lawyer Duncan Levin, who is not involved in this case, explained the prosecution was “flawed from the start.”
“It’s an overdue decision. This case was flawed from the start and clearly brought only because of Alec Baldwin’s fame,” Levin told Fox News Digital. “It was a shameful abuse of prosecutorial discretion, and the case’s failures were obvious from the start. The charges were trumped up and not appropriately brought.”
Alec Baldwin will return to “Rust” production in lead role after criminal charges for cinematographer’s death. (MEGA)
“It’s, I’m sure, a relief to Mr. Baldwin, but there should be some consequences to the state for bringing this in the first place. Better late than never, it’s at least good the state has come to this conclusion now without the need for a trial.”
Another legal expert called the criminal prosecution against Baldwin “a likely loser.”
“It seemed like a very difficult prosecution from the beginning. There was no upside for prosecution, and the case was a likely loser,” personal injury lawyer John J. Perlstein, founder of his own firm, told Fox News Digital. “While I believe that the prosecution was trying to prove that celebrity status does not exempt you from the law, it seems there are too many setbacks to actually have found Baldwin to be acting with ‘criminal negligence.'”
Alec Baldwin seen in New York City after charges against him were initially announced. (Dario Alequin for Fox News Digital)
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani explained the mistakes made by the prosecution.
He noted that Baldwin was “overcharged” with a firearms enhancement, which carried a five-year minimum sentence. Rahmani also pointed out that first special prosecutor Andrea Reeb and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies both stepped down from the case. They were replaced by special prosecutors Morrissey and Lewis.
“It’s really a lesson in what not to do if you’re a prosecutor,” he told Fox News Digital.
Despite the charges being officially dropped, Baldwin isn’t technically in the clear. Special prosecutors Morrissey and Lewis claimed the decision “does not absolve” Baldwin and emphasized the investigation is still active and ongoing in a statement.
However, legal experts told Fox News Digital the filing of new charges is unlikely.
Charges were dismissed against Baldwin on Friday. He was pictured the same day on the set of “Rust.” (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
Alec Baldwin on set of “Rust” on April 21. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
“In theory, Baldwin could be charged again for her death, but after this, they most likely would not pursue it again,” Perlstein explained. “The case faced challenges from the start, so I would think that no one wants to go down that slippery slope again.”
Rahmani agreed new charges against Baldwin would not be practical.
Baldwin returned to the set of “Rust,” now in Montana, for the first day of filming April 20. Principal photography began roughly a year and a half after the production was halted due to Hutchins’ on-set death.
Joel Souza was spotted on the set of “Rust.” Souza was injured in the shooting on set while filming “Rust” in October 2021. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
The director of the film, Joel Souza, was photographed on set for the first time Friday. He was injured in the shooting that killed Hutchins.
In a press release on Friday, several individuals, including Souza, shared statements as “Rust” continues production on the Yellowstone Film Ranch.
“Though bittersweet, I am grateful that a brilliant and dedicated new production team is joining former cast and crew to complete what Halyna and I started,” Souza said.
“Rust” has moved their filming to the Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
Alec Baldwin was seen with the “Rust” production team on Friday. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
Alec Baldwin, “Rust” set. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)
“My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud,” he continued. “The beauty of Montana surpasses words, and the warm hospitality and kindness extended by everyone I’ve met has been both humbling and inspiring. It is a privilege to work alongside such great partners as we see this through on Halyna’s behalf.”
The production team has also added new members to the cast and crew, including Safety Officers Gary Jensen and Paul Jordan from Tenet Production Safety.
Cinematographer Bianca Cline has been added to the production team, with Halyna Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, “blessing and support.”
Rather than keeping the money she makes on the film, Cline will donate her salary to charity in honor of Halyna.
Alec Baldwin resumed filming “Rust” April 20 in Montana at Yellowstone Filming Ranch. (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department)
“The production will continue to utilize union crew members and will bar any use of working weapons and any form of ammunition,” Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions, told Fox News Digital in a statement. “Live ammunition is — and always was — prohibited on set.”