Timeline: Prosecution of Alec Baldwin for ‘Rust’ shooting

May 30, 2024 - 3:40 PM
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Actor Alec Baldwin appears in court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 23, 2019. (Alex Tabak/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

On Oct. 21, 2021 a Colt Single Action Army Revolver actor Alec Baldwin was using to set up a camera shot on the movie “Rust” fired a live round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

READ: Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on movie set, killing cinematographer | Explainer: Who faces legal liability in ‘Rust’ shooting case?

The following is a chronology of Baldwin’s comments in relation to the shooting on a New Mexico film set and events surrounding Hollywood’s first on-set fatal shooting in nearly 30 years.

2021

DECEMBER – In an ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin denies responsibility for the shooting. He says the revolver “went off” on its own and he did not pull the trigger.

READ: Alec Baldwin on fatal movie set shooting; ‘I didn’t pull the trigger’ | Alec Baldwin says he has ‘no idea’ how live bullet got on ‘Rust’ movie set | Alec Baldwin shares ‘Rust’ crew letter, saying set morale was high

2022

JULY – An FBI test of Baldwin’s gun finds it “functioned normally.” The revolver would not fire from the full cock position without the trigger pulled.

2023

JANUARY – New Mexico state prosecutors charge Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter and a firearm enhancement that carries a potential five-year prison sentence.

READ: Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter over ‘Rust’ shooting

FEBRUARY – Prosecutors drop the firearm enhancement, marking a first win for Baldwin, after his lawyers argue the law was not in force when the shooting occurred. Baldwin still faces an involuntary manslaughter charge with up to 18 months prison.

READ: Baldwin charged for ‘reckless acts’ in ‘Rust’ shootingAlec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ manslaughter charges downgraded, cutting possible prison time

MARCH – In another win for Baldwin, New Mexico state prosecutor Andrea Reeb resigns after his lawyers say it is illegal for her to hold two posts in state government. Reeb is also a Republican state representative.

Two weeks later, Santa Fe county District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies says she is resigning as a prosecutor. She appoints veteran Albuquerque criminal defense attorneys Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis as new special prosecutors.

APRIL – Weeks before a preliminary hearing, Morrissey and Lewis drop charges against Baldwin. A person familiar with the case says Baldwin’s legal team presented evidence the revolver was modified, allowing it to fire without the trigger pulled. The evidence undermines the prosecution’s case, the source says.

READ: Explainer: How did live rounds get onto the set of Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’? | ‘Rust’ charges against Alec Baldwin formally dismissed

Morrissey says she will refile charges if an independent test of the gun confirms it was in normal working condition.

AUGUST – Independent firearms expert Lucien Haag finds the gun will not fire at the full cock position without the trigger pulled. Haag says damage to the trigger sear and rounding off of the full-cock notch on the gun appears to have been caused by FBI testing rather than modification.

2024

JANUARY – Baldwin is charged with involuntary manslaughter a second time as a Santa Fe grand jury indicts him.

FEBRUARY – A July 10 date is set for Baldwin’s trial.

READ: ‘Rust’ armorer called ‘sloppy,’ defense says she’s a scapegoat | ‘Rust’ armorer trial starts Thursday, jury sworn in | Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charge

MARCH – “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a Santa Fe, New Mexico jury for mistakenly loading a live round into Baldwin’s gun.

READ: ‘Rust’ assistant director praises armorer, takes blame for shooting

APRIL – New Mexico district court judge Mary Marlowe Sommer sentences Gutierrez to the maximum 18 months in state prison, telling her she has shown no contrition.

READ: ‘Rust’ armorer sentenced to 18 months in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin

MAY – Sommer denies motions by Baldwin’s legal team to dismiss charges after they argue prosecutors rigged a January grand jury against the actor. The case is seven weeks from trial with little expectation the two sides will reach a plea deal.

READ: Judge denies Alec Baldwin bid to dismiss ‘Rust’ charge

—Reporting By Andrew Hay; Editing by Aurora Ellis