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Alec Baldwin files motion to dismiss charges against him in the ‘Rust’ film shooting

Alec Baldwin attends an event in New York City on December 6, 2022.
Andrew Kelly/Reuters via CNN Newsource
Alec Baldwin attends an event in New York City on December 6, 2022.

By Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Joseph, CNN

(CNN) — Attorneys representing actor Alec Baldwin on Thursday filed a motion to dismiss charges against the actor for the fatal 2021 “Rust” movie set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge in the shooting, which left Hutchins dead and injured director Joel Souza when a gun held by Baldwin fired a live round during a scene rehearsal on the set of the western.

Baldwin’s lawyers denounced the case against the actor in the court filing Thursday, saying prosecutors “publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their improprieties—without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two and a half years.”

“This is an abuse of the system, and an abuse of an innocent person whose rights have been trampled to the extreme,” lawyers said while asking the court to dismiss the indictment.

CNN has reached out to the prosecutors in the case for comment.

Initial involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin had been dropped last year. However, prosecutors later said that “additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins” and signaled a grand jury would decide on recharging the actor. Baldwin was then indicted by a New Mexico grand jury in January.

The involuntary manslaughter charges Baldwin now faces include one described in court documents as “negligent use of a firearm” and an alternative count described as involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection, which is detailed as “an act committed with the total disregard or indifference to the safety of others.”

Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger on the weapon in a previous interview with CNN.

The film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed – who was responsible for firearm safety and storage on the movie’s set – was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the on-set shooting last week. She faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Prosecutors argued she repeatedly violated safety protocol on set and acted negligently and without caution in performing her duties as armorer, and that her actions ultimately led to Hutchins’ death.

Gutierrez Reed is the first person to stand trial in a case that highlighted the movie industry’s safety standards – and this specific set’s violations of them.

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CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Christina Maxouris and Josh Campbell contributed to this report.

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