Alec Baldwin’s potential prison sentence of many years, due to the shooting death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, has been dismissed.
On Monday morning, the First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies submitted a request to drop the firearms enhancement that was originally charged against Baldwin. Fox News Digital acquired access to related documents which confirmed this information.
“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,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the district attorney, told Fox News Digital. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
If convicted of the involuntary manslaughter charge and firearms enhancement, Baldwin could have been sentenced to a minimum five years in prison. Fortunately for him, the most he will face now is 18 months behind bars.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani expressed his disbelief to Fox News Digital, claiming that the district attorney should be “deeply ashamed” for charging a law retroactively–an obvious violation of constitutional rights and something any first-year law student would know not to do.
“Now, she has egg on her face after overcharging the case and grandstanding for the press. She has made one legal blunder after another and may be in over her head,” he added. “There is no reason why she should have waited more than a year to file charges or give assistant director David Halls a no-time slap on the wrist when she is trying to put Baldwin in state prison.”
Baldwin’s lawyers had argued the enhancement was “unconstitutional” in a Feb. 10 filing.
“The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,” the filing read.
Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in commission of a lawful act.
Baldwin’s legal team battled for their client, claiming that the firearms enhancement charge had not been established in New Mexico at the time of Hutchins’ death and thus could not be implemented retroactively. Fox News Digital spoke to several experts who weighed in on why Baldwin chose this motion as his defense tactic; they anticipated that ultimately, the firearms enhancement would be rescinded.
“The original law that was on the books was very specific in the way it defined ‘brandishing,’ and Baldwin was clearly not in violation of that law or he would have been charged as such,” Ted Spaulding, a personal injury lawyer, told Fox News Digital. “Prosecutors were likely searching for something similar that they could charge him with when they found this newer version of the law that, interestingly, has a harsher sentence of five years and looked like something they could win at trial.”
“The only issue is the bill was passed months after the shooting took place, and laws cannot be retroactively applied.”
Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer granted the prosecution’s motion for extra time to respond to Baldwin’s request that a special prosecutor be taken off of their case on Monday, as per a document filed.
The actor’s legal team argued that Andrea Reeb should not be allowed to fulfill both roles as the special prosecutor and a legislator in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
“Doing so vests two core powers of different branches – legislating and prosecuting – in the same person and is thus barred by the plain language of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution,” the legal documents read.
On October 21, 2021, tragedy struck on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico when a gun held by Baldwin discharged. Tragically, Hutchins lost his life while director Joel Souza was injured by the shot.
On February 24th, he will make his very first court appearance and is likely to show up virtually during the livestreamed hearing which can be accessed on YouTube..
“Baldwin’s deviation from known standards, practice and protocol directly caused the fatal death of Hutchins,” the documents state.
“By not receiving the required training on firearms, not checking the firearm with the armorer, letting the armorer leave the firearms in the church without being present, deviating from the practice of only accepting the firearm from the armorer, not dealing with the safety complaints on set and/or making sure safety meetings were held, putting his finger on the trigger of a real firearm when a replica or rubber gun should have been used, pointing the firearms at Hutchins and Souza, and the overall handling of the firearms in a negligent manner, Baldwin acted with willful disregard for the safety of others and in a manner which endangered other people, specifically Hutchins and Souza.”