Judge denies Alec Baldwin’s request to drop Rust manslaughter case

Sam Cabral ,Jessica Murphy

Reuters Actor Alec Baldwin leaves his house in JanuaryReuters

A US judge denied a motion by Alec Baldwin to dismiss a charge of involuntary manslaughter over a deadly shoot on a film set in 2021.

Halyna Hutchins, 42, was shot with a gun Baldwin was using during a rehearsal on the set of Rust, a western being filmed in New Mexico.

Director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident.

Baldwin is scheduled to stand trial in July.

Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger and that he only removed the hammer from the gun.

He has also argued that he is not guilty of Ms. Hutchins’ death because he did not know the gun contained real bullets and because there was supposed to be no live ammunition on the set.

In April, on-set weapons handler Hannah GutiƩrrez-Reed was sentenced to 18 months in prison. She appealed the conviction last week.

Baldwin, 66, was indicted in January by a grand jury that returned a new charge of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors said there was new forensic evidence. He pleaded not guilty.

Similar charges against the Emmy Award-winning actor were dropped last year, just two weeks before a criminal trial against him was to begin.

Baldwin’s lawyers moved to dismiss the case earlier this month, accusing prosecutors of “unethical disregard” and “violating almost every rule in the book” to secure a grand jury indictment against the actor.

In a virtual hearing on May 17, Alex Spiro and Luke Nikas presented their case before New Mexico District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer.

“This is a case involving an accident on the outskirts of criminal law,” Mr. Spiro said.

He noted that the charges had previously been dropped before the state’s special prosecutors brought them back, claiming they wanted to “humiliate” Mr. Baldwin.

In a ruling Friday night, Judge Sommer denied the request and dismissed arguments that the grand jury process was biased against the actor.

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