Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Charge Dropped, Facing Reduced Prison Time

Alec Baldwin has landed a significant legal victory in the Rust shooting case. According to PEOPLE, prosecutors have dropped the firearms enhancement charge that was filed against the actor. While he still faces the main charge of involuntary manslaughter, the possible prison sentence Baldwin now faces is now 18 months. Had the firearms charges remained, he could have been facing up to five years behind bars.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust on Oct. 21, 2021, after a prop gun that Baldwin was holding discharged. The gun was initially not believed to be loaded with live rounds. Director Joel Souza was non-fatally injured during the incident. On Jan. 19, 2023, it was announced that both Baldwin and the Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Notably, the firearms enhancement charge has also been dropped against Gutierrez-Reed.

Following the news that he would face charges in the Rust shooting, Baldwin made a legal move against the prosecuting team. ET previously reported that Baldwin's lawyers filed a request that special prosecutor Andrea Reeb be removed from the case. The outlet reported that their objection stems from the fact that Reeb is currently a member of the State House of Representatives in New Mexico, where the shooting took place and where Baldwin is being charged.

According to their argument, Baldwin's attorneys feel that the Republican representative cannot maintain both titles — state lawmaker and special prosecutor — due to a separation of powers provision in the New Mexico state constitution that prohibits individuals from simultaneously holding the position of prosecutor while being a state lawmaker. "Doing so vests two core powers of different branches -- legislating and prosecuting -- in the same person," the legal motion states, "and is thus barred by the plain language of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution."

The motion also argues that, should Reeb be allowed to continue as a special prosecutor, "Future District Attorneys could seek to curry favor with legislators who control their budgets by appointing them to high-profile cases," which could lead to "distorting the legislative process." The motion adds, "At the same time, allowing a single person to exercise both legislative and prosecutorial power could taint prosecutorial decision-making, A prosecutor who also serves as a legislator could face pressure to make prosecutorial decisions that serve her legislative interests, such as by prosecuting a prominent defendant associated with an opposing faction within the Legislature even in the face of conflicting evidence or law."

In response, the First Judicial District Attorney's Office released a statement — first published by Variety — accusing Baldwin of attempting to distract from the case at hand. "Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys can use whatever tactics they want to distract from the fact that Halyna Hutchins died because of gross negligence and a reckless disregard for safety on the Rust film set," the statement read. "However, the district attorney and the special prosecutor will remain focused on the evidence and on trying this case so that justice is served."