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Alec Baldwin given permission to skip preliminary hearing in Rust manslaughter case

Actor faces two charges of involuntary manslaughter over the 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

Tom Murray
Tuesday 11 April 2023 05:18 BST
Alec Baldwin says Rust lawsuits target ‘people with money’

A US judge has granted Alec Baldwin permission not to appear in court for the preliminary hearing relating to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin and armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 death of Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust.

The cinematographer died after being hit with a live round fired from a prop gun held by Baldwin.

During the two-week preliminary hearing, due to begin on 3 May, it will be decided whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

A waiver of appearance was filed by Baldwin and his legal team, and approved by Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer on Monday.

“I understand that I am charged with the following offence or offences under the law of the State of New Mexico: Involuntary Manslaughter … in two alternatives,” the filing read.

Alec Baldwin (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

“I understand that I am entitled to personally appear before the court at every stage of the criminal proceedings.

“After reading and understanding the above, I request that the court permit me to waive a personal appearance in court for the following proceedings: preliminary hearing.”

The news comes after the New Mexico district attorney overseeing the case said she would follow a judge’s order to step down as a prosecutor.

Baldwin’s attorney had previously called for Carmack-Altwies to be disqualified from the case, claiming as she was too distracted by her role as a state legislator.

Mary Carmack-Altwies announced the appointment of lawyers Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis to serve as new special prosecutors in the case.

Additional reporting from PA

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