Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin is fighting for his life and career.
He could go to prison after the horrific incident on the film Rust.
But Baldwin breathed a sigh of relief after his charges were lessened.
Alec Baldwin faced the possibility of five years in prison after shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of the western Rust.
Baldwin was holding the gun that fired and shot Hutchins and director Joel Souza; he suffered minor injuries while Hutchins tragically died.
Baldwin claims that the gun went off accidentally without his pulling the trigger, a claim that has been deemed impossible by firearms experts.
However, Baldwin and film armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will no longer face up to five years in prison, as the charges against them have been reduced.
Gutierrez-Reed and Baldwin, who was also a producer on the film, are still being charged with involuntary manslaughter, but without a firearm enhancement.
The firearm enhancement law was added by the New Mexico legislature after Hutchins’s death, so it was dropped in order to prevent future legal challenges from Baldwin and Gutierez-Reed on those grounds.
The two still face up to 18 months in prison.
Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement, “In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set…The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
Prior to the latest legal development, Baldwin’s lawyers attempted to have special prosecutor Andrew Reeb removed from the case because she was recently elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives.
Reeb refused to step down and responded, “Everybody’s equal under the law. It doesn’t matter if he’s a liberal Democrat and I’m a conservative Republican. My job has always been to prosecute crimes and hold defendants accountable and help victims. In this case it’s no different.”
Baldwin appears to be clinging to the story that the gun went off accidentally, but prosecutors claim that Baldwin already admitted that he pulled the trigger.
The prosecution wrote in a court filing, “BALDWIN later asserted he never fired the revolver, and that it had just ‘…gone off…’ BALDWIN made this assertion in public as well in multiple media interviews conducted after the shooting.”
Baldwin repeated the spontaneous discharge during an interview with ABC News lead anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Gutierrez-Reed has laid the blame at Baldwin’s feet, saying that he blew off safety sessions, and was distracted by his cell phone the entire time.
Gutierrez-Reed also claimed that she was tasked with performing multiple tasks that were outside her purview as an armorer.
Since Baldwin was both a producer and the actor with the gun in his hand, he has another additional layer of culpability that could make his case incredibly difficult.