Judge Rejects Alec Baldwin’s Request to Drop Charges over Evidence Dispute

171
Judge Rejects Alec Baldwin’s Request to Drop Charges over Evidence Dispute

Hollywood star Alec Baldwin’s request to have his involuntary manslaughter charges dropped has been rejected by the judge overseeing the trial.

The judge denied Baldwin’s request to dismiss the charges based on the alleged destruction of exculpatory evidence.

Baldwin’s lawyers claimed that the FBI impaired the actor’s right to a fair trial by destroying the handgun at the center of the case during forensic testing.

But the judge sided with prosecutors in a Friday ruling.

The judge’s decision sets the stage for a trial next week.

Baldwin has long denied any wrongdoing in the tragic shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The young mother was killed in October 2021 when Baldwin shot her with a prop gun loaded with a live bullet.

The case has taken a winding path.

Prosecutors previously dismissed charges only to refile them in January upon further analysis of the revolver.

In the latest twist, Baldwin’s lawyers tried to have charges dropped by citing the FBI’s forensic testing.

The testing involved striking the gun with a mallet.

Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger, but investigators say that the gun could not have gone off otherwise.

According to Baldwin’s big-money attorneys, the FBI’s testing destroyed the firearm, rendering crucial evidence unusable.

The FBI “understood that this was potentially exculpatory evidence and they destroyed it anyway,” Baldwin’s attorney, John Bash, said during a hearing last week.

“The prosecution denied the criminal defendant the opportunity to see it, to test it,” Bash added.

“It’s outrageous, and it requires dismissal.”

In a ruling Friday, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer sided with prosecutors.

Sommer’s ruling all but ended Baldwin’s efforts to avoid going to trial.

The judge agreed with prosecutors that the gun has no exculpatory value.

She noted that the firearm’s original condition can still be determined in other ways.

She rejected the defense’s claim that FBI agents damaged the gun in bad faith as it was destroyed as a consequence of testing.

While Baldwin “contends that an unaltered firearm is critical to his case, other evidence concerning the functionality of the firearm on Oct. 21, 2021, weighs against the defendant’s assertions,” the judge found.

Prosecutors have argued that the gun’s parts are still available.

They also note that Baldwin admitted to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators that the gun had “no mechanical defects.”

The movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter back in April.

Baldwin’s trial will begin next Tuesday, July 9 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.