Prosecutors look to re-charge actor Alec Baldwin in deadly shooting on 'Rust' movie set

FILE-Alec Baldwin speaks onstage at the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala at New York Hilton on December 06, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala)

Special prosecutors said Tuesday they are seeking to re-charge actor Alec Baldwin in the 2021 fatal shooting on a Western movie set in New Mexico by presenting evidence to a grand jury.

New Mexico-based prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said they’ll present evidence to grand jury within the next two months, noting that "additional facts" have come to light in the shooting on the set of the film "Rust" that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin, a coproducer of the film, was pointing a gun at Hutchins during a rehearsal on the film’s set on outside Santa Fe when the gun went off on Oct. 21, 2021, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

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"Additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Joel Souza," Morrissey and Lewis said in an email. "We believe the appropriate course of action is to permit a panel of New Mexico citizens to determine from here whether Mr. Baldwin should be held over for criminal trial."


The entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch where the film "rust" was filming, on October 29, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Baldwin has said he pulled back the hammer — but not the trigger — and the gun fired.

"It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution. We will answer any charges in court," Baldwin’s attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in an email.

Special prosecutors initially dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin in April, saying they were informed the gun might have been modified before the shooting and malfunctioned. They later pivoted and began weighing whether to refile a charge against Baldwin after receiving a new analysis of the gun.

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The recent gun analysis from experts in ballistics and forensic testing based in Arizona and New Mexico relied on replacement parts to reassemble the gun fired by Baldwin — after parts of the pistol were broken during earlier testing by the FBI. The report examined the gun and markings it left on a spent cartridge to conclude that the trigger had to have been pulled or depressed.

The analysis led by Lucien Haag of Forensic Science Services in Arizona stated that although 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 weapons supervisor on the movie set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering in the case. Her trial is scheduled to begin in February.

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In March, "Rust" assistant director and safety coordinator David Halls pleaded no contest to a conviction for unsafe handling of a firearm and received a suspended sentence of six months of probation. He agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the shooting.

The 2021 shooting resulted in a series of civil lawsuits centered on accusations that the defendants were lax with safety standards. The cases have included wrongful death claims filed by members of Hutchins’ family. Baldwin and other defendants have disputed accusations they were lax with safety standards.

Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed to this report.