Judge denies Alec Baldwin request to drop Rust manslaughter case

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Sam Cabral ,Jessica Murphy

Reuters Actor Alec Baldwin departs his home in JanuaryReuters

A US judge has denied a motion by Alec Baldwin to dismiss an involuntary manslaughter charge over a deadly film set shooting in 2021.

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

Director Joel Souza was also wounded in the incident.

Mr Baldwin’s is scheduled to stand trial in July.

Mr Baldwin has maintained he did not pull the trigger, and only drew back the hammer of the pistol.

He has also argued he is not at fault for Ms Hutchins’ death because he did not know the weapon contained live rounds and because no live ammunition was supposed to be on set.

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

Mr Baldwin, 66, was indicted in January by a grand jury which brought the fresh 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 due to begin.

Attorneys for Mr Baldwin filed to dismiss the case earlier this month, accusing prosecutors of “unethical disparagement” and of “violating nearly every rule in the book” to secure a grand jury indictment against the actor.

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

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

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

In a Friday evening decision, Judge Sommer denied the request, dismissing the arguments that the grand jury process was prejudiced against the actor.



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