Embattled Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has once again been charged with involuntary manslaughter over the accidental shooting death of his colleague, Halyna Hutchins.
As previously reported, Baldwin was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter in January of 2023, but the charges were dropped several months later in April.
“The decision to drop the charges against Mr. Baldwin came after the new prosecutors reviewed new evidence that showed that the gun he was practicing with had been modified before it was delivered to the set,” The New York Times reported at the time.
“That undercut the prosecution’s original argument that the gun could not have fired unless Mr. Baldwin had pulled the trigger,” according to the Times.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) April 23, 2023
Now fast-forward to last summer, when two special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, sent the gun for forensic testing, as confirmed by Variety magazine. The testing determined that the gun could have only been fired had someone pulled the trigger.
“This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger,” a final forensic testing report reads.
“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” the report continues.
A couple of months later in October, Morrissey and Lewis reportedly announced that they intended to present their case to a grand jury, prompting anger from Baldwin’s crew.
“It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution,” the actor’s attorney Luke Nikas said at the time. “We will answer any charges in court.”
And that is indeed exactly what’s set to happen, as last week the grand jury ruled against his client.
“We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin’s attorneys, including Nikas and another attorney named Alex Spiro, said in a statement Friday.
Baldwin reportedly faces up to 18 years in prison if convicted.
BREAKING NEWS: Alec Baldwin was just indicted in the Fatal Rust shooting on 2 counts of Manslaughter. When Democrats said Donald Trump was going to jail I never thought they meant this. pic.twitter.com/WoLtUKyPaR
— Dom Lucre | Breaker of Narratives (@dom_lucre) January 19, 2024
According to Marc A. Grano, a lawyer and former prosecutor in New Mexico, the upcoming courtroom drama will probably devolve into a back-and-forth exchange over what constitutes “standard practice” in the entertainment industry.
SAG-AFTRA, a union representing film and TV actors, is expected to intervene like it did last time, when it publicly “opposed the prosecutors’ contention that actors were responsible for ensuring that the guns they were handed on set were safe to handle, saying, ‘an actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert,'” according to the Times.
Baldwin has for his part claimed since day one that the gun discharged on its own accord. However, an FBI investigation concluded otherwise.
“Accidental discharge testing determined that the firearm used in the shooting — a .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver — could not have fired without the trigger being pulled,” ABC News reported in August of 2022, citing an FBI report.
“With the hammer in the quarter- and half-cock positions, the gun ‘could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger,’ the report stated. With the hammer fully cocked, the gun ‘could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional,’” according to ABC News.
“With the hammer de-cocked on a loaded chamber, the gun was able to detonate a primer ‘without a pull of the trigger when the hammer was struck directly,’ which is normal for this type of revolver, the report stated,” ABC News added.
In other words, Baldwin must have pulled the trigger — either by accident or on purpose — of the gun that killed Hutchins.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) August 14, 2022
In a statement to Fox News, the Hutchins family lawyer, Gloria Allred, said the deceased woman’s family members are looking forward to justice being delivered.
“Our clients have always sought the truth about what happened on the day that Halyna Hutchins was tragically shot and killed on October 21, 2021,” Allred said. “They continue to seek the truth in our civil lawsuit for them and they also would like there to be accountability in the criminal justice system.”
“The grand jury has decided that there is sufficient evidence to indict Alec Baldwin on the charge of involuntary manslaughter. We are looking forward to the criminal trial which will determine if he should be convicted for the untimely death of Halyna, who was the daughter of our clients Olga Solovey and Anatolii Androsovych, the sister of Svetlana Zemko, and the co-worker of our client, Mamie Mitchell.”
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