ABC News reports that the criminal charges that actor Alec Baldwin has been facing in relation to the fatal on-set Rust shooting have been dropped.
Baldwin was facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter after fatally shooting 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film's New Mexico set in October 2021.
Baldwin had already pled "not guilty." And, the next court appearance - which would have been a preliminary hearing - was scheduled for May 3.
The charges, however, have now been dropped. And so, that court appearance will not be happening.
There have been many changes made to the prosecution in this case.
State Rep. Andrea Reeb had already steeped down in the case, and, more recently, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has done the same. Now, Carmack-Altwies has selected Jason Lewis and Kari Morrissey to serve as special prosecutors.
It is unclear why there have been so many changes made to the prosecution. But, Lewis and Morrissey have put out a statement explaining why the charges against Baldwin have been dropped.
Over the last few days and in preparation for the May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against Alexander "Alec" Rae Baldwin, III.
"Consequently," they add, "we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form."
In their statement, Lewis and Morrissey - also indicated that just because the charges have been dropped does not mean that Baldwin is in the clear.
"This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled," they said. "Our follow-up investigation will remain active and on-going."
Following the news of the dropping of the charges, Baldwin's attorneys - Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro - released a statement of their own, saying:
We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident.
According to Fox News, Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria - after it was announced that the charges are dropped - posted tributes to each other on social media.
Baldwin posted to Twitter a photograph of him and Hilaria in a restaurant, which he captioned, "I owe everything I have to this woman." Hilaria, then, posted a photo of herself sitting in Baldwin's lap as they embraced.