Alec Baldwin’s lawyers are trying to reduce the possible fine
Actor Alec Baldwin leaves his home as he will be charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting cinematographer Galina Hutchins on the set of Rust in New York, January 31, 2023.
David Di Delgado | Reuters
On Friday, Alec Baldwin’s attorneys filed a motion alleging New Mexico prosecutors wrongly charged the actor under a statute that does not apply to his case and provides for a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
Baldwin was charged with two counts of manslaughter late last month in connection with the October 2021 fatality on the set of cinematographer Halina Hutchins, one of which is more serious and involves firearm enhancements that would entail a mandatory imprisonment. If the case eventually goes to trial, the jury will have to decide which charge of manslaughter Baldwin is guilty of, if any.
In a motion filed in the Santa Fe First Judicial District, Baldwin’s attorneys argue that the specific improvement does not apply to Baldwin because the statute was changed in May 2022, seven months after the incident.
“Prosecution in this case made an unconstitutional and elementary legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a law that did not exist at the date of the accident,” Baldwin’s lawyers wrote in motion.
At the time of the incident, New Mexico’s firearms enhancement law applied to cases where a gun was “swung” in the commission of a non-capital felony, defining brandishing as displaying a firearm “with the intent to intimidate or injure a person.” ”
The New Mexico state legislature later amended the statute to remove any mention of the gun being brandished, the court filing said.
Baldwin’s lawyers argue that the new version of the statute cannot apply to conduct that took place before it was passed, and called the retroactive application of the improvement “clearly unconstitutional.”
“The government’s probable cause statement does not include the allegation that Mr. Baldwin acted ‘with the intent to intimidate or harm a person’, and his description of the alleged behavior makes it clear that the tragic death of cinematographer Galina Hutchins was an accident,” it says. in a statement. states.
“The application of the current version of the statute would be unconstitutionally retroactive and there is no legal basis for the government to bring charges against Mr. Baldwin under the version of the statute that was in place at the time of the accident.”
In response, Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the Attorney for the First Judicial District of New Mexico, said the petition was nothing more than an attempt to distract “from the gross negligence and total disregard for safety on the set of Rust that led to Halina Hutchins.” death.”
“In accordance with best legal practice, the District Attorney and the Special Prosecutor will review all petitions, even those filed in the media, before they are forwarded to the District Attorney,” Brewer said.
“However, the attention of the District Attorney and the Special Counsel will always remain focused on ensuring that justice is done and that everyone – even celebrities with fancy lawyers – is held accountable under the law.”