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Prosecutors Plan to Re-Charge Alec Baldwin with Involuntary Manslaughter for Death of "Rust" Cinematographer
“We believe that based on our lengthy and detailed investigation that it is appropriate for a grand jury in New Mexico to make a decision on whether the case should proceed,” special prosecutor Kari Morrissey said.
Prosecutors in New Mexico plan to re-charge actor Alec Baldwin in the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the movie Rust.
Special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said Tuesday that they will present new information in the case in front of a grand jury in November.
“We believe that based on our lengthy and detailed investigation that it is appropriate for a grand jury in New Mexico to make a decision on whether the case should proceed,” Morrissey told NBC News in a statement.
Why do prosecutors want to recharge Alec Baldwin in the fatal Rust shooting?
A source familiar with the matter told NBC that prosecutors found new evidence that they think proves Baldwin was reckless when it came to taking safety precautions on set, and that they don't believe the gun was modified or that it malfunctioned.
The actor was originally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on October 21, 2021 while Baldwin was holding a gun during the filming of Rust. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also injured.
Baldwin was holding a prop gun during rehearsal on the Western's ranch set in Santa Fe, New Mexico when a live round of ammunition shot out of the .45 Colt revolver.
"It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution," Baldwin's attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in a statement. "We will answer any charges in court."
Baldwin has stated that he did not pull the trigger of the gun that fired.
Recent analysis on the weapon from forensic experts concluded — from their examination of the gun and the spent cartridge — that pressure had to be put on the trigger for it to have gone off, according to the Associated Press.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's Trial for the Rust Shooting Will Start in 2024
Rust head armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. Her trial was originally set for December, but was pushed back to February 21, 2024, due to “scheduling issues for various witnesses,” her attorney Jason Bowles said, according to NBC News. She has pleaded not guilty.
Despite the charges, Baldwin, who is also a producer on and co-writer of the film, continued on in the lead role until filming wrapped in Montana.
"My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf," Souza, who continued to direct the film, said in a statement, according to USA Today.
Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, came on as an executive producer of the movie when filming picked up again. This position is one he will also fill in Rust Movie Productions' upcoming documentary about Hutchins’ life and work, according to the newspaper.
"The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me," Hutchins said.
"But in the end, justice won’t bring Halyna back but maybe the memory of her can help keep people safe and prevent something like this from ever happening again," he added.