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Alec Baldwin May Be Charged Again in Halyna Hutchins Shooting Death After New Firearms Report
Involuntary manslaughter charges against the actor in cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' death were dropped by prosecutors in April.
A new report filed as part of a defense motion by attorneys for set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed indicates that Baldwin likely pulled the trigger on a gun he was holding when rehearsing on the New Mexico set for the forthcoming film Rust, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
The charges, initially filed in January, were dropped after "new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis," Special Prosecutors Jason Lewis and Kari Morrissey wrote in an April nolle prosequi filing.
Criminalist and Forensic Firearms Examiner Lucien Haag conducted further testing on the revolver after the FBI ran their own tests on the device. During the course of the FBI's examinations — which also concluded that Baldwin pulled the trigger — the revolver was broken, requiring Haag to replace the "hammer, trigger/sear, and bolt," per Haag's report. Once fixed, Haag determined, "This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger."
"Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver," Haag continued.
Haag noted that the gun could've discharged if the trigger was pulled prior to and while the hammer was pulled. He added, "Although unlikely and totally contrary to the normal operation of these single action revolvers, such improper handling, would result in the discharge of a live cartridge."
The forensic firearms examiner's report also included photos of Baldwin that appeared to show his right index finger land "on or near the trigger."
Regarding the report, Special Prosecutor Morrissey told NBC News, "Charges against Mr. Baldwin are being considered but a final decision has not yet been made. We won’t be pressured by Ms. Gutierrez’s attorneys or anyone else in this regard."
Gutierrez-Reed, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, is expected to appear in court on August 21.
Meanwhile, filming has been completed on Rust, with Hutchins' widower Matthew Hutchins having joined the project as an executive producer in its final week as part of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, and other Rust crew members. Matthew worked alongside Baldwin and Souza, as well as new on-set safety supervisors, as they filmed the remainder of the movie in Montana.
Additionally, the completion of Rust will be highlighted in a documentary about Hutchins' life and work, directed by Rachel Mason and produced by Julee Metz. "We embarked on this endeavor to shed light on Halyna’s life and to honor her achievements. We refuse to shy away from any aspect of this story, no matter how difficult — and if that includes the effort to complete Halyna’s final film, it is our duty to document the process," Metz told the The Hollywood Reporter in February.