Alec Baldwin Lashes Out at Prosecutors in 'Rust' Shooting Case: 'Unconstitutional Error'

Alec Baldwin says prosecutors have "committed an unconstitutional and elementary legal error" in charging the actor with involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins. Facing five years in prison for allegedly pulling the trigger of a prop gun that killed the Rust cinematographer, the Emmy-winning actor and his legal team filed a new motion in court Friday.

"The prosecutors in this case have committed an unconstitutional and elementary legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a statute that did not exist on the date of the accident," Baldwin's defense team says in the new motion, as per Deadline. "It thus appears that the government intended to charge the current version of the firearm enhancement statute, which was not enacted until May 18, 2022, seven months after the accident."

Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were formally charged by Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 31 following an extensive investigation into the incident that occurred on Oct. 21, 2021 on the set of the western film at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Baldwin's attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, said at the time his client's charges were announced: "This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds." Nikas added that his legal team "will fight these charges, and we will win."

Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion, attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed, added in their own statement at the time, "Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter. These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. ...We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."

Thursday, Baldwin was named in a new civil lawsuit on behalf of Hutchins' Ukrainian-based family members seeking unspecified damages "against each defendant." Baldwin is also facing a number of other civil lawsuits filed in California and New Mexico in regard to the fatal shooting of Hutchins.

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