The manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin relating to the 2021 fatal shooting on the set of the movie “Rust” have been downgraded by prosecutors in New Mexico, which will reduce the prison time the actor could face for the death of the movie’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.
The move comes after attorneys for Baldwin filed a motion this past month to have the firearm enhancement charge dropped, arguing prosecutors were incorrect.
A statement released by Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, said the enhancement charge was being dropped “to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys,” adding that “the prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
The decision to drop that charge reduces the prison time Baldwin could face by at least five years.
The manslaughter charges against Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the movie’s armorer, were also downgraded by prosecutors, who dropped the same firearm enhancement charge for Gutierrez Reed.
Guiterrez Reed will, as a result of the decision, also face less prison time, if convicted.
“We applaud the decision of the District Attorney to dismiss the gun enhancement and it was the right call, ethically, and on the merits,” Gutierrez Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement.
Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed were formally charged in the case back in February.
Attorneys for both defendants previously insisted their respective clients are innocent.
Hutchins was struck and killed by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun that was being held by Baldwin, who maintains he did not pull the gun’s trigger.
The movie’s director Joel Souza was also shot and injured.
Earlier this month, the parents and sister of Hutchins sued Baldwin, as well as the movie’s production company and others over her death.
In January, a production attorney told CNN that Baldwin intends to complete the film and continue to star in the lead role.