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Alec Baldwin accused by grand jury for unpremeditated murder over deadly ‘Rust’ shooting

A grand jury has charged Alec Baldwin with an unpremeditated murder accusation in the lethal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of “Rust,” after prosecutors dismissed their case against the actor earlier for her death.

Baldwin, 65, is facing an unpremeditated murder charge (irresponsible use of a firearm) or, as an alternative, unpremeditated murder (without due caution or circumspection), both fourth-degree felonies.

In reaction to the indictment issued on Friday, Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel, stated, “We anticipate our day in court.”

Special prosecutors investigating the “Rust” shooting mentioned in October 2023 that they believed Baldwin had “criminal culpability” in the deadly shooting. They declared at the time their intention to present the case to the grand jury to ascertain whether there was probable cause to prosecute him.

The actor was undertaking a cross-draw on the Santa Fe set in October 2021 when the gun inadvertently discharged, hitting Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who sustained a non-life-threatening injury.

Baldwin was originally accused of two counts of unpremeditated murder before special prosecutors dropped the case against the actor in April 2023. They indicated at the time that their investigation was still “active and ongoing.”

The attorneys representing the family of Hutchins and the film’s script supervisor in civil lawsuits over the shooting expressed in a statement on Friday their anticipation for the criminal trial that will determine if he should be convicted for the untimely death of Halyna.

The accusation carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Alec Baldwin speaks regarding the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza on the set of the film “Rust,” in Manchester, Vt., Oct. 30, 2021.

Mega/Getty Images, FILE

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez was also accused of two counts of unpremeditated murder.

She faces an additional accusation of tampering with evidence, with state prosecutors asserting she handed off a small bag of cocaine following her interview with police on the day of the shooting.

In mid-November 2023, she was also accused of unlawful carrying of a firearm in a licensed liquor establishment for an unrelated incident reported to have occurred on Oct. 1, 2021, several weeks before the “Rust” on-set shooting.

Gun enhancement charges initially brought in the case against Gutierrez and Baldwin were ultimately dismissed last year.

PHOTO: This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 23, 2021, used for the film "Rust."

This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 23, 2021, used for the film “Rust.”

Jae C. Hong/AP, FILE

Gutierrez’s attorneys sought to have her charges dismissed, arguing there were jurisdictional and structural issues with the case tied to a change in prosecutors and alleged prejudicial statements made to the media.

State District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer denied the motion in August 2023, stating that any jurisdictional issues were rectified after prosecutors filed an amended criminal information. The judge also mentioned that the defense failed to demonstrate “actual and substantial prejudice” to warrant such an “exceptional” remedy as dismissing the charges, and that extrajudicial statements are not something “that need to be addressed at this point.”

Jury selection in her trial is planned to commence on Feb. 21 in Santa Fe County. The trial is set to commence on Feb. 22 and last two weeks.

David Halls, the first assistant director for the film, was sentenced in March 2023 to six months unsupervised probation as part of a plea deal. Halls, who handed the Colt .45 revolver to Baldwin prior to the shooting, was accused of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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