Alec Baldwin was seen outside his Manhattan home on Tuesday, one day after securing a victory in his ongoing manslaughter case which reduced his possible prison time from five years minimum to a maximum of 18 months.
In spite of his legal win, Baldwin appeared incensed at members of the press outside his Manhattan apartment, as he aggressively ordered a photographer to get out his way and then, in a cloud of rage, tried to open the wrong car door.
As a journalist said ‘Hello, Mr. Baldwin,’ the actor approached another photographer next to a car and shouted, ‘You’re in my way, get out of my way!’ to which the press member responded ‘Sorry, sir’ and scurried down the sidewalk.
Baldwin then attempted to open a car door the photographer had been standing in front of, only to realize that his own SUV was double parked on the other side, as someone said, ‘It’s the other car, Alec.’
Santa Fe District Attorney’s office yesterday confirmed that a gun enhancement to manslaughter charge against Baldwin had been dropped, meaning he could avoid a prison sentence entirely even if convicted.
Alec Baldwin was seen outside his Manhattan home on Tuesday after prosecutors dropped a ‘firearm enhancement’ that reduced the time he could face in prison from five years to 18 months
Baldwin and the movie’s set armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are still facing manslaughter charges over the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer on the set of the movie Rust in 2021.
The elimination of the firearm enhancement came after Baldwin’s lawyers filed a motion earlier in the month arguing that its use in this scenario was unconstitutional and the result of an ‘elementary legal error’.
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed altered charges for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed on Friday, removing the firearm enhancement and reducing their possible prison sentence from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 18 months.
The DA’s office said in a statement: ‘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.
‘The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.’
The aggressive statement comes days after Baldwin’s lawyers fought the charge, citing a change in law.
In a motion filed on February 10, they asked Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer to throw out the enhancement violation completely.
Attorney Luke Nikas said the firearm enhancement applied by prosecutors was not written into law at the time of the shooting and therefore invalid.
‘That version of the statute could not apply to conduct that occurred before it was enacted,’ wrote the defense team, led by Nikas.
The earlier version of the statute, in effect until May 17, 2022 and therefore at the time of the shooting, was designed to punish the ‘brandishing’ of a gun to intimidate someone.
His lawyers argued that in his case Baldwin was not brandishing the gun with that purpose.
It was previously defined in the statute as ‘displaying or making a firearm known to another person while the firearm is present on the person of the offending party with intent to intimidate or injure a person.’
The law is now less lenient and the brandishing requirement does not need to be met for the enhancement to be applied. Nikas argued that applying it retroactively was unconstitutional.
‘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,’ he wrote in a motion to the court.
Balwin approached a photographer next to a car and shouted, ‘You’re in my way, get out of my way!’ to which the press members responded ‘Sorry, sir’ as he scurried down the sidewalk
Baldwin then realized his own SUV was double parked in the street, after trying to open the door of a vehicle parked on the curb
Baldwin is facing manslaughter charges over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust in 2021
Baldwin’s recent victory comes after his lawyers argued that using the enhancement in his circumstances was unconstitutional since the law was not in place at the time of the shooting
Prosecutors in January charged both Baldwin and set weapons supervisor Gutierrez-Reed for the fatal shooting of Hutchins. Baldwin was both producing and starring in the film.
A manslaughter charge can be brought if a defendant killed somebody while doing something lawful but was acting negligently or carelessly.
Baldwin has insisted the involuntary manslaughter charges are inapplicable because he had not been acting negligently when Hutchins was shot. He has also insisted he did not pull the trigger of the revolver that fired the bullet, and that he only pulled back its hammer.
The FBI has filed a report which claims he must have pulled the trigger for the gun to fire. He and Gutierrez-Reed are now facing a maximum of 18 months in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
In court documents prosecutors said reckless safety failures were routine on the set.
They claim Baldwin failed to attend a mandatory firearms training before filming and made the decision as a producer to work with Gutierrez-Reed, who was an uncertified and inexperienced armorer.
The prosecutors acknowledged that Gutierrez-Reed set up an hour-long subsequent session for Baldwin in lieu of the missed session, but claimed they only completed 30 minutes of it.
‘According to Reed, Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training,’ the prosecutors said.
A cause statement lists a number of safety failures across a 10-day period, including other misfires on set a camera crew walkout over concerns of a lack of safety.
It also described Baldwin putting his finger ‘inside of the trigger guard and on the trigger’ on the day of the shooting and moments beforehand.
‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was charged along with Baldwin for Hutchins’s death
Baldwin, pictured second from left, next to Hutchins, center, on the set of Rust in October 2021
Producer and actor Baldwin fired the prop gun (pictured) that killed one crew member and injured another on the set of the movie ‘Rust’ in New Mexico
‘Baldwin’s deviation from known standards, practices and protocol directly caused’ Hutchins’ death, Robert Shilling, a special investigator for the Santa Fe district attorney’s office, said in the probable cause statement.
Why did Santa Fe DA push for ‘enhanced’ gun charges initially?
It is unclear why Santa Fe’s District Attorney’s office thought they would be able to proceed with charges against both actor Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on a law that came into place seven months after the incident.
A New Mexico statute says that the gun enhancement law, in effect between July 1, 2020, and May 17, 2022, was intended to punish the ‘brandishing’ of a gun.
That was defined in the statute as ‘displaying or making a firearm known to another person while the firearm is present on the person of the offending party with intent to intimidate or injure a person.’
Baldwin denied that he brandished the gun with intent to intimidate or injure, with the charge carrying a five-year mandatory jail sentence.
However an amendment came into place in May 2022, seven months after the fatal shooting in October 2021.
It changed to allow the charges to be brought without brandishing, but as Baldwins New York lawyers successful argued last week, it would don’t have applied to the star and armorer.
The DA has hit out at their decision to remove the charges, saying they are interested in ‘justice’ rather than paying the bills for ‘big-city lawyers.’
Nikas has said in a statement that the charges were a ‘terrible miscarriage of justice’ that he and his client were going to fight and win.
‘Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set,’ the statement said. ‘He relied on the professionals with whom he worked.’
Carmack-Altwies told the Associated Press that the set was ‘really being run pretty fast and loose’ and Baldwin should have known there were previous misfires and that people had brought up safety concerns.
Prosecutors will forgo a grand jury and rely on a judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to move toward trial. That decision could take up to 60 days and involve trail-like hearings to consider witness testimony and evidence.
The reduced charges come after it was revealed that Hutchins’s husband will testify in court after she was killed by a bullet in the ‘prop’ gun.
Matthew Hutchins was added to the New Mexico District Attorney’s witness list to testify at a preliminary hearing on February 24.
The widower, who shared a nine-year-old son with Halyna, sued the Rust production team last year and was appointed executive director as a part of the settlement.
The long witness list includes director Joel Souza, who was wounded by the bullet that passed through Halyna, as well as assistant director David Halls.
Halls is accused of telling Baldwin the gun was ‘cold’ – an accusation he has denied.
He agreed a plea deal with prosecutors in January which included a six-month suspended sentence and a fine.
Prop worker Seth Kenney, camera assistant Lane Luper, line producer Gabrielle Pickle and script supervisor Maime Mitchell will also likely testify.
Matthew Hutchins (left) was added to the New Mexico District Attorney’s witness list to testify at the preliminary hearing on February 24 against Alec Baldwin. Matthew is pictured above with Halyna and their now nine-year-old son
David Halls, assistant director of the movie Rust, will also testify against Baldwin over the accidental shooting on the film’s set
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