New Mexico special prosecutors dropped charges against actor Alec Baldwin in the “Rust” film set shooting. New facts revealed that the pistol could have fired without pulling the trigger. There wasn’t enough time to investigate further before the preliminary hearing on May 3, 2023. Baldwin is off the hook for the involuntary manslaughter of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The special prosecutors could refile the charges against Baldwin in the next three months.
Alec Baldwin claimed that he pulled back the hammer but never pulled the trigger when the pistol went off. No one believed him. The Old West prop pistol he had required pulling back the hammer and then pulling the trigger to fire.
The Santa Fe district attorney’s office sent the pistol to the FBI lab for examination. The lab concluded that the pistol couldn’t fire without someone pulling the trigger. A damning report against an accidental misfire.
Baldwin’s insistence that he never pulled the trigger gave him the appearance of trying to avoid responsibility. Especially during the high-profile interview that he gave after the shooting. That made the district attorney’s office all the more eager to file criminal charges against him.
If Baldwin had admitted to pulling the trigger, he may have gotten a plea deal similar to First Assistant Director David Hall. A suspended sentence and six months of unsupervised probation for criminal negligence with a weapon. Admitting responsibility in a criminal case means being a convicted criminal.
The DA’s office and the original special prosecutor made a series of missteps that forced them to step away from the case. The newly appointed special prosecutors discovered new facts that the pistol may have been modified. And dropped the charges against Baldwin.
Was Baldwin right all along that he didn’t pull the trigger on the pistol?
Unless charges are refiled against Alec Baldwin, I expect the media to stop reporting on this case. Armorer Hannah Reed still faces involuntary manslaughter for her role in the shooting. The judge postponed her preliminary hearing to August 7, 2023. She is likely to get convicted for involuntary manslaughter. Since her last name isn’t Baldwin, her trial will go largely unreported.