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Grand jury to hear case as prosecutors say Alec Baldwin has ‘criminal culpability’ in deadly ‘Rust’ shooting

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(SANTA FE, N.M.) — Prosecutors said Tuesday they believe Alec Baldwin has “criminal culpability” in the deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of “Rust.”

The special prosecutors investigating the “Rust” shooting said they intend to present the case to a grand jury within the next two months to “determine whether probable cause exists to bind Baldwin over on criminal charges.”

The actor was practicing a cross-draw on the Santa Fe set in October 2021 when the gun fired, striking the cinematographer and director Joel Souza, who suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

“After extensive investigation over the past several months, additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Joel Souza,” special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said in a statement. “We believe the appropriate course of action is to permit a panel of New Mexico citizens to determine from here whether Mr. Baldwin should be held over for criminal trial.”

Baldwin’s attorneys said they will “answer any charges in court.”

“It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution,” his attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel, said in a statement to ABC News.

Baldwin was initially charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the death of Hutchins. Special prosecutors in the case dropped those against the actor in April, though noted at the time that their investigation remains “active and ongoing” and that charges may be refiled.

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez was also charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. She also faces an additional charge of tampering with evidence, with state prosecutors claiming she handed off a small bag of cocaine following her interview with police the day of the shooting.

Gun enhancement charges filed in the case against both Baldwin and Gutierrez were dropped in late February.

Gutierrez’s attorneys sought to have her charges dismissed, arguing there were jurisdictional and structural issues with the case tied to a change in prosecutors and alleged prejudicial statements made to the media.

State District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer denied the motion in August, saying any jurisdictional issues were cured after prosecutors filed an amended criminal information. The judge also said the defense failed to demonstrate “actual and substantial prejudice” to warrant such an “exceptional” remedy as dismissing the charges, and that extrajudicial statements are not something “that need to be addressed at this point.”

Earlier this month, Sommer ordered “Rust” producers to turn over documents to prosecutors on the agreement between Baldwin and Rust Productions. The production company was seeking to quash the special prosecutor’s request.

During the hearing, Morrissey said the production company “refused” a request by Gutierrez for more time to train Baldwin on the weapon. Morrissey argued the request was denied to keep production costs low, and that Baldwin, as a producer on the film, would benefit from lower costs.

“This entire tragedy occurred because Rust Productions cut corners every chance they could and they hired inexperienced and ill equipped crew members. So we have a situation where Rust Productions is doing everything it can to keep costs low so that it can keep profits high,” Morrissey said during the Oct. 6 hearing.

David Halls, the first assistant director for the film, was sentenced in March to six months unsupervised probation as part of a plea deal. Halls, who handed the Colt .45 revolver to Baldwin prior to the shooting, was charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon.

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