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charges amended

Rust shooting: Gun enhancement charge dropped against Alec Baldwin

Prosecutors have dropped the firearm enhancement charge against Alec Baldwin, in connection with the fatal October 2021 shooting on the New Mexico set of the movie Rust.

During rehearsals, a prop gun Baldwin was holding discharged a live round, fatally wounding cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin said he was told the gun was "cold," and did not have any live rounds.

In January, Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter and a firearm enhancement that carries a minimum prison sentence of five years. Attorneys for Baldwin argued that this version of the law was passed several months after the Rust shooting, and he was being incorrectly charged.

Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the Santa Fe County district attorney, said in a statement on Monday the firearm enhancement was dropped "to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys. The prosecution's priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys." The altered charges were filed on Friday, and also apply to Rust's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded the gun on the day of the shooting.

Baldwin now faces one count of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison. The first hearing in the case is set for Friday, where a judge will determine if there is cause to move forward with the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed, The New York Times reports.