Entertainment

Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Shooting Trial Start Date Set

Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial in the accidental 2021 shooting death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins will begin this summer. 

In a memo issued Monday, Feb. 26, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer scheduled jury selection for July 9 and the tentative trial start date for July 10. Sommer said she expected the trial to last nine days, ending July 19.

The filing mentions a few other key deadlines, like submitting witness lists and completing witness interviews. Sommer also set June 24 as the deadline for Baldwin and prosecutors to submit any potential plea agreement.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter back in January. It actually marked his second plea in connection to the Rust shooting after he was originally charged with the same crime in Feb. 2023. That case, however, was dismissed in April 2023 before he went to trial. 

A big reason the initial case against Baldwin was dismissed had to do with evidence surrounding the gun. Baldwin has maintained that he never pulled or had his finger on the trigger of the gun when it went off. Instead, he’s claimed that, during rehearsal, he pulled the revolver’s hammer back without fully cocking the gun, and the weapon fired when he released the hammer. 

When the FBI investigated the shooting in 2022, it found that Baldwin would’ve needed to pull the trigger for the gun to fire — but the feds also admitted to damaging the gun during testing. Those damages were used to get the original manslaughter charges dismissed, with Baldwin’s lawyers arguing the gun was not a reliable source of evidence. 

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Following the dismissal, new prosecutors were assigned to the Rust case. They commissioned a new forensic report, which was completed after firearms experts reconstructed the gun. The new report’s findings matched those of the FBI. Prosecutors then brought the renewed case to a grand jury, which voted to revive the criminal case against Baldwin earlier this year. If convicted, Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison.

Along with the case against Baldwin, prosecutors are also pursuing involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges against Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Her trial began last Thursday, Feb. 22, and it’s expected to last two weeks. Gutierrez-Reed has also pleaded not guilty.

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