“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” said Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro.
A rep for the First Judicial District Attorney’s office in New Mexico did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment, nor did the two special prosecutors overseeing the case. Prosecutors are expected to file a notice to dismiss the charges tomorrow, April 21, per CNN.
Baldwin had pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter back in Feb. and would’ve faced up to 18 months in prison if convicted. Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, manslaughter; it’s unclear if prosecutors intend to drop their case against her as well. (A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed did not immediately return a request for comment).
The charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were first announced back in January, but lawyers for the pair successfully pushed back against the state’s case. First, they successfully got the original charges downgraded, after lawyers claimed that they were filed under a New Mexico firearm law that had actually been massed months after the shooting took place in Oct. 2021.
Then, in March, a special prosecutor named to the case stepped down after Baldwin’s lawyers argued the appointment violated New Mexico’s Constitution, because the prosecutor also served as a lawmaker in the state. Then, a few weeks later, at the end of March, the district attorney of Santa Fe County, who’d been leading the investigation from the start, stepped down as well, naming two special prosecutors to take her place.
One person tied to Hutchins’ shooting death has faced some accountability: Assistant director Dave Halls. Halls entered a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon at the end of March. He will not face any jail time and will serve six months of unsupervised probation.
The news of the charges against Baldwin likely being dropped coincides with the resumption of production on Rust, which started filming again today, April 20, 18 months after Hutchins’ death. Baldwin is still involved as an actor and co-producer, with Bianca Cline taking over as cinematographer. The resumption of production was announced last Oct., when Baldwin and the other producers reached a settlement with Matthew Hutchins, who’d filed a wrongful death suit against the production on behalf of his late wife. (Matthew is now an executive producer on the film and will receive a cut of its profits.)