New Mexico District Attorney Downgrades Charges for Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin on an ABC Special.
Alec Baldwin sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. Baldwin claimed he didn’t pull the trigger. (Photo: GMA/ABC)

Prosecutors in New Mexico have removed the gun enhancement charge attached to Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter charges from last year’s accidental shooting on the set of the movie “Rust’ that claimed the life of cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, according to documents released by prosecutors. 

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies charged Baldwin and the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, with two counts of involuntary manslaughter last month. One of those charges carried a five-year minimum sentence. 

The official document from the New Mexico First District Attorney shows prosecutors have removed the firearm enhancement, a part of the criminal code that extends prison sentences when firearms are involved in the commission of a crime.

The charge of involuntary manslaughter without the gun enhancement charge is still set to move forward. It carries a potential 18-month sentence. 

SEE ALSO: Alec Baldwin Skipped Firearms Training On ‘Rust’ Set

The decision came down to a court filing from Baldwin’s attorneys. 

“The prosecutors in this case have committed an unconstitutional and elementary legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,” the document states. 

According to Baldwin’s attorneys, the statute, at the time, only applied to the brandishing of a firearm with intent to intimidate or injure another person. His attorneys argued that the government had not established intent on Baldwin’s part to intimidate or injure Hutchins or director Joel Souza. 

“It thus appears the government intended to charge the current statute, which was not enacted until May 18, 2022, seven months after the accident,” the filing states. 

The criteria for the firearm enhancement with the 5-year minimum sentence was expanded in 2022 to include a weapon simply being “discharged” in the commission of a noncapital felony.

SEE ALSO: Revolver Baldwin Was Holding Could Not Be Fired Without Trigger Pull, Says FBI Report

Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico First District Attorney, said in a statement to NPR that they made the decision to drop the firearm enhancement to speed up the process.

“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set,” Brewer said. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, faces the same involuntary manslaughter charge as Baldwin. Her charges have been downgraded as well. 

While Baldwin’s attorneys have not released a statement regarding the downgrade of charges, an attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, Jason Bowels, was enthusiastic about their decision.

“We applaud the decision of the district attorney to dismiss the firearm enhancement and it was the right call, ethically, and on the merits,” Bowels said. 

Baldwin’s case is unprecedented because he is the first actor to be charged with manslaughter in an on-set shooting. The actor claimed in an interview with ABC News that he did not pull the trigger. Instead, he had the hammer halfway cocked. A video from that rehearsal conflict with Baldwin’s statement as they show his finger on the trigger 

Baldwin is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday.

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About the author: Dante Graves Dante is a movie and comic book junkie who loves a good explosion. His passion for politics and journalism led him here. Dante’s only aim is to be truthful and factual with his reporting.

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  • Paul Hillar March 6, 2023, 11:17 am

    Baldwin is as guilty as a cat with a mouth full of feathers! Interviewed by another piece of crap (step in awful sh&t). If it were ANY other person, they would be swinging from the gallows by now, but little rich boy can afford justice the rest of us can’t! If I were the judge, I would ban him from ever touching a gun again, for life! He is 100% liable for the chain of events that happened that day, when he KILLED a woman and injured another man! He didn’t even get any time in jail, he went to England! How many of us would have been allowed to leave the country? ZERO! He’s getting away with murder and he knows it! Justice is not being served! I hope they nail his ass civilly and take him for all he’s worth, he has no business ever doing anything with firearms and had he ever showed up at my range, I would have kicked his ass off for life!

  • Paul Hillar February 24, 2023, 5:01 pm

    Meanwhile, another “accidental” shooting accurse where a man and woman are “playing” with a a firearm and a finger, to shoot at each other and the man accidentally shoots and kills the woman and he gets 12 years! Where’s the justice in that? Baldwin is as guilty if not more that the other guy yet he gets slap on the wrist because he has money, not that he isn’t guilty as sin, but he can afford justice, the other poor sap can’t! They both need to be in prison, and the communist judges need to get out, or start enforcing the laws!

  • Dwane February 24, 2023, 3:54 pm

    Jerry has been canceled!

  • jerry February 24, 2023, 3:19 pm

    I left a comment. What happened to it?

  • jerry February 24, 2023, 3:18 pm

    I’m sorry Mr. Baldwin, but the coincidences leading to that killing are beyond comprehension. First, two persons inspect the firearm. Then Balwin takes the gun. Then a live round somehow finds itself into Mr. Balwin’s hands. Then that live round somehow gets into the very chamber, one out of six, that will come up when Balwin cocks the hammer. Has anyone ever seen a depiction of Russian roulette in a movie (You don’t expect the very first trigger-pull to discharge a round, do you?)? Then he pulls the trigger, which was not in the script. I do not like Alec Baldwin, so I am prejudiced. But I believe that this petite but assertive, expert technician, Guiterrez-Reed, somehow belittled or insulted the egotistical Mr. Baldwin’s sense of professional expertise. I think he planned what he thought was the perfect crime and carried it out in front of a dozen or so witnesses, on-camera.

    • Tomlightfield March 6, 2023, 10:45 am

      I REALLY DON’T LIKE ALEC BALDWIN either, he is an egotistical narcissist of the nth degree but what motive would he have for killing this lady????

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