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Alec Baldwin loses latest bid to dismiss involuntary manslaughter case; Judge orders trial to continue

Actor could face up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Alec Baldwin(Angela Weiss/ AFP)

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Actor Alec Baldwin will face trial on a charge of involuntary manslaughter related to the fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust," after a judge denied his latest attempt to dismiss the case.

On Friday New Mexico District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected Baldwin's motion to dismiss the charge, which could land him behind bars for up to 18 months.

Baldwin's attorneys argued that the state destroyed key evidence, referring to the firearm involved in the incident. However, Judge Sommer denied the request, stating that the issue should be settled during the trial. Jury selection is scheduled to begin July 9.

Details of the incident

Baldwin was rehearsing a scene for the movie Rust on October 21, 2021. During the rehearsal, the actor was holding a gun that went off and resulted in the death of the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

This incident initially led to Baldwin being charged with involuntary manslaughter, but the charges were dropped after the local district attorney's case weakened. However, in January 2023 new forensic evidence led a grand jury in New Mexico to re-indict Baldwin.

Controversy over destruction of evidence

A central point of controversy in the case is the destruction of the weapon involved. In 2022, an accidental discharge test conducted by an FBI examiner resulted in internal damage of the gun. Baldwin's attorneys argued that this destruction deprived the defense of the opportunity to examine the weapon in its original state. Josh Bash, Baldwin's attorney, described the situation as one of the most "egregious" he has seen, criticizing authorities for failing to preserve evidence properly.

On the other hand, prosecutors contend that the gun parts are still available to the defense and that their exculpatory value is very low. Special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson pointed out that Baldwin himself told Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators that the gun had no mechanical defects.

Civil lawsuits

In addition to the criminal prosecution, Baldwin faces several civil lawsuits, including one by Hutchins' family, which accuses him of negligence and reckless behavior.