Actor Alec Baldwin could face new criminal charges as special prosecutors seek to recharge him in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a movie set two years ago.
New Mexico prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said they will present their case to a grand jury by the end of November, saying that “additional facts” have come to light regarding the shooting.
The shooting occurred when Baldwin was rehearsing a scene on the set of the film Rust in New Mexico in 2021. During the scene, Baldwin held a gun that was pointed at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The firearm was supposed to be loaded with blank rounds but held a live round. As Baldwin held the gun and pulled the hammer back, the firearm discharged and sent a bullet into Hutchins, killing her almost immediately. Director Joel Souza was injured during the incident.
It remains unclear why or how the weapon was loaded with a live bullet. Baldwin has been insistent that he did not pull the trigger. A forensic expert, Lucien Haag, said that the revolver would have needed roughly two pounds of pressure applied in order for it to discharge.
“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” Mr. Haag wrote in a report.
Earlier this year, prosecutors dismissed charges against the actor, citing time constrains and issues with evidence turned over to law enforcement. They said at the time that the decision did not absolve him of responsibility and could be refiled.
As the special prosecutors prepare to convene a grand jury to consider re-charging Baldwin, they told the Associated Press (AP), “Additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Joel Souza.”
They added, “We believe the appropriate course of action is to permit a panel of New Mexico citizens to determine from here whether Mr. Baldwin should be held over for criminal trial.”
Baldwin’s attorneys told the AP, “It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution. We will answer any charges in court.”