Alec Baldwin Wins; Co-Producer Role Dropped from Manslaughter Case

Baldwin clinches key legal battle before manslaughter trial

by Zain ul Abedin
Alec Baldwin Wins; Co-Producer Role Dropped from Manslaughter Case
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In the involuntary manslaughter trial of the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last year, Alec Baldwin has scored a legal win. However, the prosecutors have failed in their bid because a New Mexico judge has refused to consider Baldwin a co-producer of the indie western film Rust as part of the trial scheduled to commence on the 9th of July.

This was said by Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer during a pre-trial motions hearing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. "I’m having real difficulty with the state’s position." she said. "They want to show that as a producer he didn’t follow guidelines and therefore as an actor Mr.

Baldwin did all of these things wrong that resulted in the death of Ms. Hutchins because as a producer he allowed these things to happen." Sadly, Hutchins did not survive this incident and died on set on October 21, 2021, after a live round fired from the Colt .45 Baldwin was using during a rehearsal.

It also affected Rust director Joel Souza, who was shot at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. The trial, which is expected to take about two weeks gets underway with the selection of jurors tomorrow. Baldwin has pleaded not guilty and if found guilty, this could attract up to 18 months imprisonment and hefty fines.

Special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson emphasized that Baldwin had both the power and the responsibility on the set, and it increased the risk level on set. "Defendant’s role as a producer emboldened him in the days before October 21, 2021," Johnson said, claiming that Baldwin’s actions as a producer endangered everyone on the set.

Baldwin's Legal Defense

It stays consistent with the goal of avoiding confusion among the jurors; according to Judge Sommer, "The probative value is not substantially outweighed by unfair prejudice and confusion to jurors." Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, Baldwin’s defense attorneys, also opposed the motion to use his producing role as proof.

Baldwin was recharged in 2023, with the state pointing out to him prior firearm incidents on Rust set. The prosecution argued he was in a position to exercise excessive influence over set operations, especially as regards to the use of firearms.

At the moment, through his lawyers, Baldwin is objecting to document handling by the prosecution in discovery, hinting that it may impact fairness of the trial. Sommer, the judge, encouraged compliance, offering the parties an hour to come up with a solution.

Further, during the ongoing trial, Baldwin is served with more civil lawsuits in California and New Mexico over the Rust shooting. Also, there is a proposed settlement with Hutchins’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, which can be scuttled because New Mexico pulled more than $1.6 million in tax credits that were initially given to Rust.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who received an 18-month term in April for involuntary manslaughter, also has appealed. However, there is doubt about her involvement as she is still on the witness list, and she has refused to testify against the respondent by exercising her 5th Amendment rights.

Rust shooting was continued last year in Montana with Baldwin and Souza in their parts. However, the film remains unsold, following continued consequences of the shooting tragedy that occurred on the set.

Alec Baldwin