Judge Says That Alec Baldwin’s “Rust” Criminal Trial Will Proceed Next Month

(PatriotWise.com) — The trial in actor Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter case is cleared to begin this month after the judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the case over the damage caused by the FBI during its forensic testing of the firearm that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a film set in 2021.

During rehearsal for a scene in Balwin’s 2021 film “Rust,” the actor allegedly fired the revolver at Hutchins, killing her and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza.

The defense argued that the FBI’s forensic tests heavily damaged the revolver before the weapon could be examined for possible flaws or modifications that could exonerate Baldwin.

During its forensic testing, the FBI conducted a test to determine if the revolver could accidentally discharge by striking the firearm with a rawhide mallet from various angles. The test eventually broke the revolver.

However, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer on June 28 rejected the defense’s motion to dismiss, saying that it was “not highly prejudicial” that the internal components of the revolver were destroyed during testing. She determined that the defense failed to establish that the FBI forensic investigators acted in bad faith.

The judge’s ruling clears the way for prosecutors to bring the case to trial. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on July 9 in a Santa Fe court.

The court approved a witness list of over 60 people, including “Rust” director Joel Souza and assistant director Dave Halls. Halls last year pleaded no contest to negligent use of a deadly weapon. Potential witnesses also include firearms experts, first-hand witnesses to the shooting, first responders, and investigators.

The prosecution plans to enter evidence that shows that the revolver was properly functioning before the rehearsal and could not have fired without someone pulling the trigger.

Baldwin was charged twice in Hutchins’ death but prosecutors dismissed the earlier charge in April 2023 and refiled several months later after receiving additional firearms analysis.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer for the film, was sentenced in April to 18 months after a jury convicted her of involuntary manslaughter.

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