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Potential modifications to the firing mechanism of the gun prompted dismissal of charges against Baldwin, source tells CNN

<i>Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Prosecutors are reviewing the evidence
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office/AFP/Getty Images
Prosecutors are reviewing the evidence

By Chloe Melas, CNN

New information is coming to light as to what led prosecutors to dismiss involuntary manslaughter charges against actor Alec Baldwin.

A source familiar with the case told CNN that the possibility of modifications to the firing mechanism of the gun was learned by the special prosecutors overseeing the case in New Mexico. The source said that the modifications to the gun used in the 2021 shooting on the set of “Rust” included the potential ability for the gun to discharge a bullet without the trigger being pulled — a claim which has been asserted by Baldwin, who referenced it in an interview with CNN last August.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing ​the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

A separate source told CNN the decision to dismiss charges against Baldwin was made after new evidence came to the attention of investigators indicating the gun used in the shooting had been modified, though the exact nature of the modifications was not clear and that investigators will be examining the weapon to determine the extent of the modifications, which could have impacted how the gun functioned.

The new evidence presented has the potential to contradict the 2022 FBI forensics report on the gun, which had stated that the weapon could not be fired without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked.

After the news of the charges being dismissed broke, a statement from the New Mexico special prosecutors overseeing the case in the “Rust” shooting cited “new facts,” and that they could not “proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form.”

“We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation,” the prosecutors said in their statement, adding, “This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled.”

The news comes ahead of a scheduled status hearing in the case set to take place Friday afternoon.

CNN’s Josh Campbell contributed to this report.

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