Alec Baldwin has all criminal charges against him dropped following fatal Rust shooting

20 April 2023, 20:54 | Updated: 20 April 2023, 21:12

Filming on Alec Baldwin's Rust due to resume 18 months after cinematographer shot dead on-set
Filming on Alec Baldwin's Rust due to resume 18 months after cinematographer shot dead on-set. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Danielle DeWolfe

All criminal charges against actor Alec Baldwin have been dropped following the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of his film Rust.

The case against the 65-year-old actor following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has now officially been dismissed, his lawyers have said.

The Hollywood star had been facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting, which occurred on the set of the Rust movie in October 2021.

Armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who handed the Baldwin the gun, is still facing charges.

A statement from Baldwin's attorneys, shared with the PA news agency on Thursday, said: "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."

Alec Baldwin last month
Alec Baldwin last month. Picture: Getty

Baldwin had pleaded not guilty following the shooting.

Baldwin was pointing a pistol at the cinematographer during a rehearsal when the gun went off, killing Mrs Hutchins and wounding Souza.

Baldwin has said that the gun went off accidentally and he did not pull the trigger. An FBI forensic report found the weapon “functioned normally” and would not fire without the trigger being pulled.

Charges of involuntary manslaughter were brought against Baldwin and Ms Gutierrez Reed by the Santa Fe District Attorney's office in March.

Lawyers for both denied any wrongdoing and said they intended to fight the charges in court.Baldwin's lawyer, Luke Nikas, called the decision to charge the actor "a terrible miscarriage of justice".

Halyna Hutchins was shot during a film production in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Halyna Hutchins was shot during a film production in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Picture: Getty

"Mr Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun - or anywhere on the movie set," Mr Nikas said.

"He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds."

Baldwin arrived in Montana on Wednesday night to resume filming on Rust.

The original production had been taking place in New Mexico, where Rust Movie Productions finalised a settlement in March.

The company agreed to a $100,000 (£80,000) fine to resolve a scathing safety review which found unheeded complaints and misfires on set before Ms Hutchins was shot in October 2021.

Speaking about the filming restart, lawyer Melina Spadone said: "It will bar any use of working weapons and any form of ammunition. Live ammunition is - and always was - prohibited on set."

Bianca Cline will take Hutchins' place as cinematographer, with Joel Souza, who was injured in the shooting in New Mexico, returning as director.

Baldwin has reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Hutchins' husband Matthew, who will also be an executive producer. Baldwin is a producer as well as the film's star.

In February, Hutchins' family filed a new civil lawsuit against Baldwin and the production company seeking damages for alleged battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and loss of consortium.

Hutchins' widower Matthew also approved a documentary about her in February.