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Judge denies Alec Baldwin request to drop indictment for ‘Rust’ shooting

A New Mexico judge rejected Alec Baldwin’s bid to dismiss an involuntary manslaughter charge for the 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, opening the way for an unprecedented trial of a Hollywood actor for an on-set death.

Baldwin’s lawyers argued at a May 17 hearing that a grand jury indictment of the actor was “a sham” as a New Mexico state prosecutor failed to tell jurors they could question defence witnesses and stopped them from hearing evidence helpful to the actor’s case.

District court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, in a court filing, denied the request.

The trial is scheduled to stand trial on July 10.

Hutchins was shot with a live round after Baldwin pointed a gun at her as she set up a camera shot on a film set near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The “30 Rock” actor maintains he did not pull the trigger, an assertion that has become central to the case.

Sommer sentenced “Rust” armourer Hannah Gutierrez to 18 months in prison in April after a Santa Fe jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter for loading the live round into the reproduction Colt Single Action Army revolver Baldwin was rehearsing with.

Hutchins died in the first on-set fatal shooting with a live round mistaken for a dummy or blank round since Hollywood’s silent era, according to historian Alan Rode.

Hollywood on-set shootings have in the past been settled through civil lawsuits, such as the last fatality in 1993 when Brandon Lee was killed when a blank round dislodged a bullet stuck in a revolver’s barrel during filming of “The Crow.”

An undated photo of the reproduction 1873 long Colt .45 Single Action Army revolver actor Alec Baldwin was using on the New Mexico set of the western movie “Rust” in 2021, when it fired a live round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on April 17, 2024, from the police investigation into the shooting. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS
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By ANDREW HAY

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