Prosecutor and Defense Lawyer Clash in Alec Baldwin Hearing; Judge to Rule on Dismissing Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Next Week

“I won’t just sit here and let you call me a liar!”

During a virtual hearing today, Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey expressed her strong opposition to the motion filed by Alec Baldwin’s defense for the dismissal of the involuntary manslaughter charges against him. The exchange between the lawyers became heated, and Morrissey made it clear that she vehemently disagreed with the defense’s request.

Despite the best efforts of his lawyers during the lengthy hearing on Friday, it will still be several more days before Baldwin finds out if he will stand trial this summer on charges of involuntary manslaughter for the tragic shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021.

In the late morning, Judge Mary Marlowe Summer informed the gathered lawyers that she would announce her decision on whether to dismiss the indictment next week. With a weary sigh, she assured them, “I’ll provide it in writing, so keep an eye out for that.”

The trial of Alexander Rae Baldwin, as known as State v. Alexander Rae Baldwin, is set to commence on July 9 and is expected to span approximately two weeks. Notably, Baldwin was absent from today’s virtual hearing.

The morning began with a touch of legalese, but as the two-hour hearing came to a close, things took a personal and tense turn between Morrissey and defense attorney Alex Spiro. In the final moments, Spiro, seeking “60 seconds” (which ended up being much longer), passionately argued against Morrissey’s stance on why Baldwin should face justice in New Mexico this summer.

The Special Prosecutor strongly disagreed with Mr. Spiro’s statement, stating, “I have no idea what Mr. Spiro is talking about. Everything he is saying right now is a complete misrepresentation of what has happened.” She expressed her frustration with the New York lawyer, calling his defense tactics deceptive. Morrissey, the prosecution, sarcastically added, “That’s what these people do,” echoing their previous filings in the case.

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The defense presented a well-referenced argument today, citing rarefied statutes, legal precedent, and even quotes from the New York Times. They also highlighted Grand Jury leaks, capturing the interest of Judge Sommer on various nuances. Although there were some acknowledged oversights, Morrissey vehemently rejected most of Baldwin’s lawyers’ assertions.

“The defense is attempting to persuade the court that the actor wielding a real gun holds no accountability for their actions. However, this argument is simply unfounded,” asserted Morrissey. “The truth is, the actor is fully responsible for their actions, even when they have a gun in their hand.”

“There is no intention of deceiving anyone here… we are simply presenting the facts to the grand jury based on what we have observed,” she emphasized, highlighting the adequacy of the evidence.

Morrissey justified the inclusion of another witness in the trial by stating that the reason for Halyna Hutchins’ death was the failure to follow safety protocols. He emphasized that this was the primary cause behind the tragic incident.

In their defense, the lawyers representing the multi-Emmy winner wasted no time in portraying their client as a victim of prosecutorial overreach and misconduct.

“The fix was in,” remarked Spiro, a Baldwin attorney, during the virtual hearing on Friday. He expressed his discontent with the limited access to documents and witnesses that the prosecutors allowed the Grand Jury. “There is a fair way to handle this, but unfortunately, that’s not what happened in this case.”

The Quinn Emanuel lawyer emphasized the importance of the court’s intervention to put an end to this abuse of power. During the hearing, the lawyer made this plea to Judge Sommer and Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey.

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Spiro accused Morrissey, the prosecutor in the Hannah Gutierrez-Reed trial, of diverting witnesses from information and testimony that could have helped Baldwin. The ex-Rust armorer was swiftly convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a Santa Fe jury on March 6 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on April 14.

During the discussion on the Gutierrez-Reed case, Luke Nikas, a colleague of Spiro, emphasized that Alec Baldwin had no official obligation to inspect the gun he was given on the Rust set during that tragic day. Nikas highlighted that there were other individuals responsible for this task, clarifying that the weight of this responsibility was the key factor in the successful prosecution of Gutierrez-Reed earlier this year.

In the weeks following her sentencing, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, has been unable to secure her release on bail. Despite filing a formal notice of appeal earlier this month, the wheels of justice are turning slowly, and it’s possible that the appeal process will still be ongoing even after Gutierrez-Reed completes her sentence.

If Baldwin is found guilty in his own trial later this year, he could face a prison sentence of up to 18 months and be required to pay significant fines.

In late January, Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter and he pleaded not guilty shortly after. Baldwin has consistently maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the Colt .45 that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza with live rounds. However, both the FBI and independent analysis suggest that Baldwin must have pulled the trigger for the gun to fire, despite ongoing disputes over the condition of the weapon.

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Baldwin is currently involved in approximately six civil cases in California and New Mexico courts that are connected to Rust and the unfortunate shooting incident that occurred nearly three years ago.

In 2022, the wrongful death suit filed by Hutchins’ husband and son was settled, bringing closure to the tragic incident. However, the story of Rust was not over yet. In early 2023, the film was resurrected, with Matthew Hutchins, the widower, joining as an executive producer. The production team returned to Montana to complete filming, with Baldwin reprising his role as the star and producer, and Souza once again taking the director’s chair.

Months have passed, but despite its completion, the video game Rust has yet to attract any potential buyers.

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