Express & Star

Alec Baldwin’s lawyers accuse prosecution of ‘abuse of power’ in Rust case

US star Baldwin is set to face a trial scheduled in July.

Alec Baldwin

Lawyers for Alec Baldwin have accused the state of a “stunning abuse of prosecutorial power” as they urge the court to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter case against the actor.

US star Baldwin is set to face a trial scheduled in July, in Santa Fe, New Mexico following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the western film set of Rust in October 2021 – after a prop gun held by Baldwin went off.

Baldwin will face a maximum of 18 months in prison if convicted after trial.

This was the sentence Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was given last week after she was found guilty by a jury on the same charge.

Baldwin Set Shooting
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was sentenced to 18 months in prison last week after she was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter (Luis Sanchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

In March, Baldwin’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case, alleging violations of court orders and other legal faults by the prosecution in the grand jury process.

The actor’s legal team – led by Luke Nikas – has now filed new papers supporting their views, after the prosecution filed counter claims.

His lawyers have alleged that the prosecution’s reasoning for pursuing an indictment “are completely divorced from the public interest and reflect a stunning abuse of prosecutorial power”.

“The State’s response to Baldwin’s motion consists almost entirely of irrelevant, false, unsupported, and highly prejudicial statements that serve no legitimate purpose,” the new motion stated.

It also argues that a misdemeanor plea offer, that would carry no prison time for Baldwin, was withdrawn last year due to the prosecution’s “mistaken assumption” that the actor had commissioned a documentary film about Rust and sought to interview witnesses.

Rust incident
Alec Baldwin practising drawing his revolver on the set of the Rust movie (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)

Baldwin’s lawyers claim that the information that led to the prosecution rescinding the plea offer was “inaccurate”.

“Baldwin never commissioned a documentary about Rust or Hutchins death,” the new documents state.

In their initial response, the prosecution claimed Baldwin’s lawyers had lied and misled the court, and insisted Baldwin should stand trial for his role in Ms Hutchins’ death.

The prosecution, led by Kari Morrissey, have been contacted for comment.

It comes after a video of Baldwin began circulating on social media, which saw the actor confronted by an anti-Israel protestor in a coffee shop in New York.

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