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Judge to Rule Next Week on Whether to Dismiss Alec Baldwin Case

A judge in New Mexico will rule next week on whether to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter indictment against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the “Rust” film set, after she closely questioned the lead prosecutor on Friday about her handling of grand jury proceedings.

Lawyers for Mr. Baldwin — who was rehearsing with an old-fashioned revolver on the set in 2021 when it fired a live bullet, killing the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins — had lodged numerous objections to how the case has been handled, calling the prosecution “an abuse of an innocent person whose rights have been trampled to the extreme.”

The defense claimed at a hearing on Friday that the prosecution had not sufficiently shown the jurors evidence that could have supported Mr. Baldwin’s case. That included presenting witnesses who could have bolstered the defense’s contention that Mr. Baldwin had no reason to think that the gun was loaded with live ammunition and that actors are not responsible for gun safety on film sets.

“The court can have no comfort in this indictment; it can have no comfort in the way it was procured,” a lawyer representing Mr. Baldwin, Alex Spiro, argued at the hearing, which took place virtually. “It cannot possibly believe it was fair and impartial.”

Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers have assigned blame to the movie’s weapons specialist, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a trial this year and sentenced to 18 months in prison, and to the movie’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, who has acknowledged that he failed to properly inspect the gun that day and took a plea deal.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer of the First Judicial District Courthouse in Santa Fe, N.M., questioned the lead prosecutor in the case, Kari T. Morrissey, on the defense’s complaints about how she had presented the case to the grand jury. The judge pressed Ms. Morrissey on the defense’s claim that she had “steered grand jurors away” from their proposed witnesses.

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