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Judge denies Alec Baldwin's appeal to dismiss charge in 'Rust' shooting

By Ehren Wynder
A judge on Friday denied a motion to dismiss the case against actor Alec Baldwin after his lawyers accused prosecutors of "violating nearly every rule in the book" to secure an indictment against the actor, who is scheduled for a July trial. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI.
A judge on Friday denied a motion to dismiss the case against actor Alec Baldwin after his lawyers accused prosecutors of "violating nearly every rule in the book" to secure an indictment against the actor, who is scheduled for a July trial. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI. | License Photo

May 25 (UPI) -- The judge presiding over Alec Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter case on Friday denied his bid to dismiss the charge.

New Mexico Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer's decision means Baldwin likely will stand trial again in July for the fatal shooting of a cinematographer Haylna Hutchins on the set of Western movie Rust in 2021.

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He faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Baldwin's lawyers in March filed a motion to dismiss the charges. Earlier this month, they accused prosecutors of "unethical disparagement" and of "violating nearly every rule in the book" to secure an indictment.

"This is a case involving an accident at the very outskirts of criminal law," attorney Alex Spiro said.

Sommer, however, wrote that the prosecution did not violate instruction from the grand jury and that jurors were properly informed of the existence of the defense's witnesses and evidence.

"We look forward to our day in court," Baldwin's lawyers said in a statement.

The actor in 2021 was rehearsing a scene with a revolver when the gun discharged a live bullet, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

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Baldwin has maintained he did not pull the trigger when the gun went off. He also denied responsibility for Hutchins' death because there were supposed to be no live rounds on set.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the weapons handler for the production, in April was sentenced to 18 months in prison after a jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Sommer also presided over that case.

Attorney Luke Nikas in court papers filed this month argued Baldwin had no reason to believe the gun had a live round. He quoted prosecutor Jason Lewis in Gutierrez-Reed's trial in saying, "it's a hard and fast industry rule that live ammunition should be miles away from a film set at all times."

Prosecutors argued Baldwin disregarded the risks by declining to participate in the armorer's safety check and handling the gun in a way that the rehearsal did not require.

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