Previously, RTM reported that more than a year after the tragic shooting and death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins prosecutors charged actor Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter. Because the fatality involved a weapon, Baldwin was subject to a mandatory five-year prison term.
Baldwin was holding a Colt 45 revolver when rehearsing a scene for the upcoming movie “Rust.” The weapon discharged, striking several of the set crew.
Baldwin maintains he did not know the gun was loaded, the weapon should not have had live ammunition and he did not pull the trigger.
Movie set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies made the following statement:
“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set.”
Heather Brewer, a Mary Carmack-Altwies’ office spokesperson, added, “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
The change in charges means Baldwin’s maximum jail time is 18 months.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News Digital: “The district attorney has to be embarrassed. Charging a law retroactively is a constitutional violation, and something that every first-year law student knows not to do.”
Rahmani added: “Now, she has egg on her face after overcharging the case and grandstanding for the press. She has made one legal blunder after another and may be in over her head. There is no reason why she should have waited more than a year to file charges or give assistant director David Halls a no-time slap on the wrist when she is trying to put Baldwin in state prison.”
In a Feb. 10 filing, Baldwin’s lawyers argued the firearm enhancement charge was not part of New Mexico’s law code when the fatal shooting occurred. Therefore, they argued, the law should not (retroactively) apply to their client — calling the charges “unconstitutional,” Baldwin’s attorneys wrote:
“The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident.”
Attorneys for Baldwin argued the firearms enhancement charge was not part of New Mexico law when the fatal shooting of Hutchins occurred.
Legal experts predicted prosecutors would drop the firearm enhancement charge.
Fan and former actor Jenna Wims Hashway wrote: “Let me fix this one for the prosecutor: “We’re dropping the charge because this would be an ex post facto application, which is barred by the Constitution. We are doing so on a holiday to avoid drawing attention to our truly stupid error.”
Fox News reported that Ted Spaulding, a personal injury lawyer, said:
“The original law that was on the books was very specific in the way it defined ‘brandishing,’ and Baldwin was clearly not in violation of that law, or he would have been charged as such.”
Spaulding continued: “Prosecutors were likely searching for something similar that they could charge him with when they found this newer version of the law that, interestingly, has a harsher sentence of five years and looked like something they could win at trial.”
“The only issue is the bill was passed months after the shooting took place, and laws cannot be retroactively applied,” he added.
The following nine-month-old BBC News video clip shows the chaotic aftermath of the shooting:
Fox News reported that “representatives for Baldwin did not immediately respond to … request for comment.”
Baldwin’s first court appearance, scheduled for Feb. 24, will be live-streamed on YouTube.
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