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Alec Baldwin Is Going to Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter 3 Years After ‘Rust’ Shooting: What to Know

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Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter case has come to an end three years after the fatal shooting on the set of Rust.

Baldwin was initially charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in January 2023 after he was holding a prop weapon that contained real bullets on the film’s set in New Mexico back in 2021. The shot killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has maintained his innocence since the shooting and claimed he didn’t pull the trigger of the prop gun. He pleaded not guilty in February 2023 and the criminal charges were dropped against the actor two months later.

“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, attorneys for Baldwin said in an April 2023 statement.

While the charges were dropped in 2023, Baldwin was indicted for a second time on involuntary manslaughter charges the following year. Baldwin’s attorneys filed to have the case dismissed but the judge sided with prosecutors to let the trial continue.

In July 2024, First Judicial District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer dismissed the case in a Sante Fe, New Mexico, court, siding with Baldwin’s legal team.

Keep scrolling for everything to know about Baldwin’s trial:

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Santa Fe County Sheriff/MEGA

When Did the Trial Begin?

The trial began on July 9, 2024, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with jury selection. Judge Sommer said the previous day that Baldwin’s role as a producer of Rust was not relevant to the trial.

Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, were spotted arriving at the courthouse on July 9 with one of their younger children. Per AP News, the judge said opening statements should begin on July 10, 2024.

What Charges Was Alec Baldwin Facing?

Baldwin has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and if convicted, he could face up to 18 months in prison.

Who Was Set to Testify?

According to a June report from the Associated Press, there is a court-approved witness list of more than 60 people, which includes Souza and assistant director Dave Halls, who earlier pleaded no contest to negligent use of a deadly weapon. Several first responders, investigators, firearms experts and close-range witnesses to the shooting are also expected to speak.

The outlet reported that Baldwin was not on the list, but he has the right to testify at his own trial.

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Santa Fe County Sheriff/MEGA

What Has Alec Baldwin Said About the Trial?

After news broke of the second indictment, Baldwin’s attorneys released a statement on his behalf. “We look forward to our day in court,” the lawyers said in a statement to Us Weekly in January.

Later that month, Baldwin’s legal team filed paperwork emphasizing their “demand for speedy trial, discovery and exculpatory information, notice of defense intent to call witnesses,” according to docs obtained by Us. The docs stated that Baldwin was hopeful to “minimize public vilification and suspicion” with a quicker trial and to “avoid the hazards of proving his innocence that often arise after a lengthy delay in prosecution.”

What Happened During the Trial?

On July 12, 2024, Judge Sommer agreed with Baldwin’s legal team that prosecutors hid evidence that could have been linked to the Rust shooting.

“There is no way for the court to right this wrong,” she said, according to NBC News. “The sanction of dismissal is the only warranted remedy.” The dismissal was with prejudice, meaning the involuntary manslaughter case against Baldwin cannot be filed again.

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