March 22, 2023
“Everyone knows Alec Baldwin was holding the gun, there was no question,” said Rachel Fiset, defense attorney and co-founder of Los Angeles–based Zweiback, Fiset & Zalduendo, LLP, but “the fact that they don’t have the gun in pristine condition may make it even harder for the prosecution to prove whether he fired it or not.”
Before all of this drama went down, however, Baldwin secured his biggest legal win to date. After facing a gun-enhancement charge on one of the two involuntary-manslaughter counts Reeb charged him with, Baldwin’s lawyers successfully contended that he couldn’t be charged with the enhancement, arguing, “The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident.” Hutchins’s death was in October 2021, but the present version of this law did not go into effect until May of last year, ABC noted. If Baldwin were to be convicted on the gun-enhancement count, he would have faced a minimum five-year jail sentence.
The New Mexico prosecutors tossed the enhancement before a judge could decide the issue. The statement that accompanied the move was pointed. “In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set,” the prosecution said. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.” With the enhancement dropped, Baldwin faces a maximum of only 18 months in lockup if convicted.
Reeb’s replacement has not been revealed as of press time, and it’s not exactly a plum legal gig.