Judge denies Baldwin bid to drop Rust shooting charge

Andrew Hay |

A New Mexico judge has rejected Alec Baldwin’s bid to dismiss an involuntary manslaughter charge for the 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, opening the way for an unprecedented trial of a Hollywood actor for an on-set death.

Baldwin’s lawyers argued at a May 17 hearing that a grand jury indictment of the actor was “a sham” as a New Mexico state prosecutor failed to tell jurors they could question defence witnesses and stopped them hearing evidence helpful to the actor’s case.

District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, in a court filing, denied the request.

The trial is scheduled to stand on July 10.

Aerial photo of the movie set fior Rust in Santa Fe
Actor Alec Baldwin is due to stand trial in July over a shooting death on the set of the film Rust. (AP PHOTO)

Hutchins was shot with a live round after Baldwin pointed a gun at her as she set up a camera shot on a film set near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The 30 Rock actor maintains he did not pull the trigger, an assertion that has become central to the case.

Sommer sentenced Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez to 18 months’ prison in April after a Santa Fe jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter for loading the live round into the reproduction Colt Single Action Army revolver Baldwin was rehearsing with.

Hutchins died in the first on-set fatal shooting with a live round mistaken for a dummy or blank round since Hollywood’s silent era, according to historian Alan Rode.

Hollywood on-set shootings have in the past been settled through civil lawsuits, such as the last fatality in 1993 when Brandon Lee was killed when a blank round dislodged a bullet stuck in a revolver’s barrel during filming of The Crow.