Alec Baldwin judge refuses to drop charges after evidence damaged

Despite the FBI destroying a gun that Baldwin claimed had defects, a trial will move forward in the "Rust" shooting

Published June 29, 2024 4:28PM (EDT)

Alec Baldwin (MEGA/GC Images/Getty Images)
Alec Baldwin (MEGA/GC Images/Getty Images)

Alec Baldwin faced another setback in court on Friday, with a judge rejecting a motion to toss his case after the FBI destroyed a key piece of evidence: the firearm that mistakenly discharged on set.

Baldwin, who was involved in a 2021 accidental shooting on the set of his film “Rust” that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, will face a July 9 trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled.

His attorneys sought to have the case tossed after the gun, which Baldwin claims malfunctioned due to damage or a construction error, was mutilated during FBI testing, rendering it unexaminable for the case. They argued that since the evidence wasn’t properly, the defense couldn’t prove that the weapon had a defect.

“They [the FBI] knew it would be destroyed, and they did nothing to preserve the evidence for the defendant,” Baldwin’s attorney, Josh Bash, said, per the BBC. “It's outrageous and it requires dismissal.”

Weighing an interview in which Baldwin, charged with involuntary manslaughter, told OSHA investigators the gun had no mechanical failures, the Judge denied the dismissal.

Judge Sommer wrote in the Friday order that a jury would weigh “whether the defendant had a criminally negligent state of mind."

Baldwin, who was re-indicted in January after charges were dismissed in 2023, has faced significant public backlash for the incident, beyond legal trouble. In April, he was accosted in a Manhattan coffee shop by a woman who asked why he “kill[ed] that lady.”

Baldwin faces a civil lawsuit for Hutchins’ death, as well.

The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for her role in the death of Hutchins.

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