Alec Baldwin Scores Big Legal Win, Potential Prison Time Dramatically Reduced
Actor Alec Baldwin faces potentially less prison time if he is convicted of manslaughter after prosecutors dropped a firearm enhancement charge related to his 2021 shooting of a woman in New Mexico.
Baldwin was holding a gun that discharged in October 2021 on the set of his Western film, “Rust.”
A live round killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and also wounded director Joel Souza. Baldwin has claimed the gun went off on its own.
His legal team has fought to have the enhancement charge dropped.
Baldwin argued that the enhancement charge did not apply to him after the fatal on-set shooting.
The law states a firearm enhancement can only be tacked on to such a charge if the gun is “brandished” during the commission of a crime that results in unintentional death.
Monday, the Santa Fe County district attorney’s office announced through a spokeswoman the enhancement had been dropped.
The New York Times reported spokeswoman Heather Brewer said the firearm enhancement was dropped to “avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys.”
“The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys,” Brewer added.
The drop of the enhancement charge would drastically reduce the amount of time behind bars Baldwin faces, should a jury
convict him of involuntary manslaughter.
The Times reported under the enhancement law, Baldwin could have faced a minimum of five years in prison if convicted.
He now faces a maximum of 18 months behind bars.
Baldwin has stated he is not to blame for Hutchins’ death.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin told ABC News just weeks after he shot Hutchins on the set of the film.
“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
The actor has also argued he never pulled the trigger of the gun.
An FBI analysis of the firearm determined the firearm could not have gone off without deliberate action, such as a trigger pull.
Prosecutors have also alleged Baldwin did not take a full and required firearms safety class before the film began production.
During a reduced, half-hour gun safety course, Baldwin was described as “distracted,” according to a probable cause filing by the district attorney.
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