Alec Baldwin and his attorneys have celebrated the news that charges against him in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were being dropped, but those celebrations appear to be short-lived. “We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic incident,” the attorneys said.
But that is not the end of the story and Baldwin has not been exonerated, special prosecutors Jason Lewis and Kari Morrissey said on Thursday.
“Over the last few days and in preparation for a May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against Alexander ‘Alec’ Rae Baldwin, III,” the prosecutors said.
“Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form,” the pair said.
The charges are only being dismissed by the prosecutors so that they can “conduct further investigation.”
“This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled,” the prosecutors said. “Our follow-up investigation will remain active and ongoing.”
— MaryCarmackAltwies (@MaryCarmackAltw) April 21, 2023
Baldwin’s lawyers recently presented evidence to the prosecutors that influenced the decision to drop the charges, according to a source familiar with the process. The evidence indicated that the Colt .45 had been modified prior to the shooting, making it more difficult for the D.A. to prove that Baldwin actually did pull the trigger.
The D.A. will drop the charges “without prejudice,” meaning that the case could be refiled later, perhaps with a lesser charge. In the statement, Morrissey and Lewis said that as they were preparing for a preliminary hearing over the last few days, “new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis.”
The charges against Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was the armorer on the set, remain intact.
“The new special prosecutor team has taken a very diligent and thorough approach to the entire investigation, which we welcome and have always welcomed,” her attorneys said.
“They are seeking the truth and we are also. The truth about what happened will come out and the questions that we have long sought answers to will be answered. We fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be exonerated,” the attorneys said.
In March in a new court filing, Baldwin’s attorney said that the special prosecutor, New Mexico state Rep. Andrea Reeb, used her public statements to advance her career and violated Baldwin’s Constitutional rights. The state representative removed herself from the case last week after it was argued that she could not exercise both judicial and legislative power at the same time.
ABC News reported: “In a motion filed on Tuesday withdrawing their now-moot Feb. 7 motion to disqualify Reeb, Baldwin’s attorneys outlined a series of concerns they had over-reported private and public statements made by the Santa Fe district attorney’s office and Reeb. The actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Hutchins. When the district attorney’s office announced last year that Reeb would join the team investigating the October 2021 on-set shooting, Reeb was a candidate for the New Mexico House of Representatives. Baldwin’s motion this week cites a New York Times report published on Tuesday on a private email exchange between Reeb and Santa Fe County district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, calling it ‘yet another troubling development’ in the state’s prosecution.”
The Times reported on June 9, 2022, that the representative said in a text message to the district attorney to mention that she is taking part in the case because “it might help in my campaign lol.”
Baldwin’s attorney said in the filing that to “publicize the fact that she was working on the case in order to advance her political career,” and said it was an “abuse of the system” and violated his client’s constitutional rights.
They cited a statement from the district attorney’s office spokesperson in response to the defense’s motion to have Rep. Reeb removed from the case which said that 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.”