PaMorgan Lee

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 8:57 p.m

Prosecutors drop the most serious charge against Alec Baldwin in the shooting

Actor Alec Baldwin pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in the shooting of a cinematographer on the set of a Western movie and waived his first formal court appearance, according to court documents filed Thursday.

NOTE: The video in the media player is taken from a previous report.

Last month, Baldwin and a gun chief were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the October 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Galina Hutchins, who died shortly after being wounded while rehearsing at a ranch outside Santa Fe.

Baldwin agreed to waive the hearing to have his rights explained. On Thursday, a judge set release conditions that allow Baldwin to have limited contact with potential witnesses as he plans to wrap up filming on “Rust.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been preparing for a possible preliminary hearing for months to determine whether there is probable cause to go to trial.

Other conditions of Baldwin’s pretrial release include a ban on drinking alcohol and a ban on possessing any weapons, including firearms.

“Defendant is permitted to communicate with potential witnesses only … in connection with the completion of the movie Rust and other related and unrelated business matters; provided, however, that the defendant shall not be permitted to discuss the accident in question,” State Dist. Judge Mary Marlow said in a signed ruling.

The manslaughter charges against Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer of “Rust,” and gunman Hannah Gutierrez Reed are punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law.

Authorities said Baldwin pointed the gun at Hutchins when he fired, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Copyright © 2023, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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