Prosecutors have downgraded the charges against American actor and producer Alec Baldwin relating to the 2021 fatal shooting of a crew member on the set of his new movie “Rust,” reported The Hollywood Reporter, a top entertainment industries magazine and website, on Monday.
The move will remove a potential five-year prison sentence for the 64-year-old Hollywood veteran and the movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who is the individual responsible for weapons and ammunition on a set, and the one who loaded the gun on the day of the shooting, said the report.
On Oct. 21, 2021, Baldwin discharged a prop gun on the set of the movie in the U.S. state of New Mexico’s Santa Fe County, killing the movie’s 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
On Jan. 31 this year, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies’ office formally filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed in the fatal shooting of Hutchins.
Prosecutors downgraded the second of two charges, which included a firearm enhancement, on Friday. That charge, lawyers for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed argued in a motion filed earlier this month, was based on New Mexico law that passed following Hutchins’ death, according to the report of The Hollywood Reporter.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed still face an involuntary manslaughter charge that comes with a maximum of 18 months in prison, the report added.
“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,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys,” Brewer said. ■