Actor Alec Baldwin leaves his home as he faces involuntary manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film ‘Rust’ January 31, 2023 in New York.
David Dee Delgado | Reuters
Alec Baldwin’s attorneys filed a motion Friday arguing that New Mexico prosecutors falsely charged the actor under a statue that doesn’t apply to his case — and that carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
Baldwin was charged late last month with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set in October 2021, one of which is more serious and involves a firearms enhancement that would carry the mandatory prison sentence. If the case goes to trial, the jury will have to decide what charge of involuntary manslaughter Baldwin is guilty of.
In a motion filed in the Santa Fe First Circuit, Baldwin’s attorneys argue that a specific improvement does not apply to Baldwin because the law was changed in May 2022, seven months after the incident.
“Prosecutors committed an unconstitutional and fundamental error of law in this case by charging Mr. Baldwin under a statute that did not exist at the time of the accident,” Baldwin’s attorneys wrote in the filing.
At the time of the incident, the New Mexico Firearms Improvement Act was being applied to cases where a gun was “wielded” in the commission of a non-capital felony, using “wielded” to mean the display of a firearm “with the intent to harm a person.” to intimidate or to hurt”. ”
The law was later amended by the New Mexico legislature to remove any mention of having to draw a gun, court records say.
Baldwin’s attorneys argue that the new version of the law cannot be applied to conduct that occurred prior to its enactment, calling the retrospective application of the extension “manifestly unconstitutional.”
“The government’s probable cause statement makes no allegation that Mr Baldwin ‘acted with intent to intimidate or harm any person’ and its description of the alleged conduct makes it clear that the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was an accident “, it says in the file conditions.
“Applying the current version of the statute would be unconstitutional retrospectively and the Government has no legitimate basis to charge Mr Baldwin under the version of the statute in effect at the time of the accident.”
In response, Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said the request was nothing more than an attempt “to distract from the gross negligence and total disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set that led to Halyna Hutchins’ death .”
“In accordance with good legal practice, the District Attorney and Special Prosecutor will review all requests — even those submitted to the media before they are served on the prosecutor,” Brewer said.
“However, the focus of the prosecution and special prosecutor will always be to ensure that justice is done and that everyone – even celebrities with offbeat lawyers – is held accountable before the law.”