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Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter case has been dismissed. Here’s key things to know

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A judge’s surprise ruling has ended the prosecution of Alec Baldwin nearly three years after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust.”

The ruling, which came in the trial’s fourth day, was a surprise end to case that had already been dropped once. The judge’s ruling prevents Baldwin from being tried again.

What charge did Alec Baldwin face?

Baldwin was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and faced up to 18 months in prison if convicted

Baldwin, the star and co-producer of the Western, was pointing a revolver at Hutchins during a rehearsal in a small church on the movie set at Bonanza Creek Ranch in October 2021 when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. Baldwin has said he pulled back the hammer — but not the trigger — and the gun fired.

It has never been officially determined who brought the live rounds that killed Hutchins on to the set. Prosecutors at the previous trial of “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said she was responsible. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to the same 18 months in prison Baldwin faced.

What was before jurors

Prosecutors had two alternative standards for proving the charge. One is based on the negligent use of a firearm. The other is proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin acted with total disregard or indifference for the safety of others.

Despite the legal and technical complexities of the case, the 12 citizens of Santa Fe County would have hadto reach just one verdict — guilty or not guilty — on a single count.

How long was Alec Baldwin’s trial expected to last?

The trial at the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico — about 20 miles northeast of the movie set and the shooting — was projected to last nine days. It ended on its fourth day.

Why is Alec Baldwin famous?

Baldwin, 66, emerged as a major movie star in the late 1980s and early ‘90s through films like “Beetlejuice” and “The Hunt for Red October,” and has remained a household name ever since. He would move on to memorable supporting roles in films including 2003’s “The Cooler,” which got him an Oscar nomination. Comedy dominated his later career as he won two Emmys for playing network executive Jack Donaghy on six seasons of “30 Rock,” and won a third for playing Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”

He has also played the role of outsized public personality, as a cherished talk-show guest, a sought-after liberal, and at times as a man unable to control his outbursts of anger, which have brought public embarrassment and a previous run-in with the law much more minor than the current one.

Baldwin is the eldest of six children — five of them actors — from Massapequa, New York, who has lived in New York City for most of his adult life. He has an adult daughter, Ireland Baldwin, with his first wife Kim Basinger, and seven small children with his second wife, Hilaria Baldwin.

Where the ‘Rust’ shooting happened

Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital, an arts mecca of 89,000 people and a tourist destination for its historic Southwestern beauty, is no small town. And its downtown modern legal complex is hardly a country courthouse. But the location is still a far cry from the coastal urban courts where the celebrity trials of Bill Cosby, O.J. Simpson, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump were held.

The proceedings could make for an unusual scene. Scores of members of the national media will compete for seats in the Santa Fe courtroom and an overflow room, and cameras will surround the courthouse for arrivals and departures.

And the public can watch. The trial will be streamed and broadcast by several outlets including Court TV.

Who was Halyna Hutchins?

Hutchins, who was 42 when she died, was a cinematographer on the rise and a mother of a young son when she was killed. She grew up on a remote Soviet military base and worked on documentary films in Eastern Europe before studying film in Los Angeles and embarking on a promising movie-making career.

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For more coverage of Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/alec-baldwin

By ANDREW DALTON
AP Entertainment Writer

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