A New Mexico judge rejected actor Alec Baldwin's request to dismiss a manslaughter charge related to the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust. The judge dismissed arguments from Baldwin's lawyers that the charge should be dropped because the gun used in the incident was damaged during FBI testing, preventing further examination by his legal team.

Baldwin is set to face trial in July. He was accused of shooting Hutchins with a live round while handling a gun on set near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin has maintained that the gun discharged accidentally after he pointed it at Hutchins and cocked it, asserting he did not pull the trigger. This claim is pivotal in the ongoing case.

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez, who loaded the live round into the revolver, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Baldwin's defense argues that the prosecution's case hinges on the unverified assumption that the gun functioned correctly and could only fire if the trigger was pulled, despite evidence suggesting the gun was modified to fire without a trigger pull.

Judge Mary Sommer ruled that Baldwin's attorneys failed to demonstrate that the prosecution intentionally damaged the gun to obstruct justice, or that they could not acquire equivalent evidence post-damage. Sommer emphasized the gun's critical role in the case and noted that prosecutors must present witnesses to clarify how the gun was damaged and its significance.

An initial charge of involuntary manslaughter against Baldwin was dismissed after evidence showed the revolver was modified to fire without a trigger pull. Subsequently, an independent firearms expert confirmed the gun would not fire without the trigger being pulled. Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey, appointed in March 2023, presented the case to a grand jury, resulting in a second involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin.