Alec Baldwin’s Legal Team Seeks Dismissal of Manslaughter Charge Citing FBI Gun Testing Damage

Alec Baldwin Faces New Manslaughter Charges

Alec Baldwin’s defense requests dismissal of involuntary manslaughter charge, arguing FBI testing damaged critical evidence. Judge to rule on motion Friday.

Bollywood Fever: Alec Baldwin‘s defense attorneys argued on Monday that the FBI’s testing of the revolver involved in the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” has compromised their ability to mount a proper defense, urging a New Mexico judge to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge against the actor.

“They understood that this was potentially exculpatory evidence and they destroyed it anyway,” stated Baldwin’s lawyer John Bash during a virtual court hearing. “It’s outrageous and it requires dismissal.”

Prosecutors contended that while the gun breaking during testing was “unfortunate,” Baldwin’s defense still has sufficient evidence and has not met the burden required for dismissal.

Alec Baldwin Faces New Manslaughter Charges

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer indicated she expects to rule on the motion to dismiss by Friday.

The incident occurred during a rehearsal on October 21, 2021, when Baldwin was pointing the gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The gun discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Initially, sheriff’s investigators sent the revolver to the FBI solely for DNA testing. However, after Baldwin claimed in an ABC interview that he never pulled the trigger, the FBI was authorized to perform an accidental discharge test. The revolver broke into three pieces during the test when struck with a rawhide mallet.

Baldwin’s lawyers argued that the FBI proceeded with the test despite knowing it could cause significant damage, and without allowing the defense to examine the firearm first, thereby destroying crucial evidence.

“We can never use our own expert to examine that firearm,” Bash emphasized.

The prosecution maintained that the gun was not destroyed beyond use.

“The parts are still available,” said special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson. “The fact that this gun was unfortunately damaged does not deprive the defendant of the ability to question the evidence.”

However, Baldwin’s defense argued that the damage to the revolver’s hammer top notch makes essential testing impossible. They requested that if the case is not dismissed, the court should exclude any technical gun analysis from the trial.

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Baldwin’s defense team conducted extensive cross-examinations of the lead detective, an FBI forensic firearm investigator, and the prosecution’s independent gun expert, likely previewing their strategy for the trial.

The special prosecutors argued that these cross-examinations showed the defense has ample evidence for trial.

“They have other reasonable available means to making their point,” Johnson said, adding that all available evidence indicates the gun was in working order on the day of the shooting.

Prosecutors plan to argue that the firearm “could not have fired absent a pull of the trigger” and was functioning correctly before the incident.

Baldwin’s attorneys highlighted an expert analysis that questions the origin of tool marks on the gun’s firing mechanism. Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in March for her role in the shooting and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Last week, the judge denied prosecutors’ request to use immunity to compel testimony from Gutierrez-Reed at Baldwin’s trial. Her statements to investigators and workplace safety regulators are expected to play a significant role in Baldwin’s trial.

Previously, special prosecutors had dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin, citing potential modifications to the gun. However, after receiving a new analysis, they successfully pursued a grand jury indictment.

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