New Mexico prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against actor Alec Baldwin in the “Rust” shooting tragedy, a dramatic reversal that comes after numerous missteps by prosecutors, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.
The decision to drop the involuntary manslaughter charges comes just a few weeks after a new special prosecutor took over the case when the district attorney stepped down.
“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, attorneys for Baldwin, said in a statement to ABC News.
Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.
Baldwin, 65, was charged in late January with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the October 2021 shooting death of Halyna Hutchins. The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was also charged.
But since the high-profile charges were announced by prosecutors in Santa Fe, the case against Baldwin has been crumbling due to a variety of problems with the investigation.
Two months ago, New Mexico prosecutors downgraded felony penalties against Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed, removing the threat that either could spend years in prison.
Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed were charged last month with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting on the movie’s set south of Santa Fe.
The most serious charge included a “firearm enhancement” penalty that carried a maximum five years in prison, if convicted.
The “Rust” production was set to resume filming at Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana on Thursday.
“The production will continue to utilize union crew members and will bar any use of working weapons and any form of ammunition,” said Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions. “ Live ammunition is — and always was — prohibited on set.”
This is a developing story.
Times staff writer Anousha Sakoui contributed to this report.