Prosecutors have downgraded the involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin, significantly reducing the possible prison time for the actor.
Had Baldwin, 64, been convicted of the involuntary manslaughter and firearms enhancement charges, he would have faced a mandatory five years in jail. He still faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting — that crime would carry a lesser sentence of 18 months if convicted. The amended complaint was filed late Friday.
The charge was also dropped against former Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who faces the same involuntary manslaughter charge as Baldwin.
“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement Monday. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were previously charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to Halyna’s death on Jan. 31. The actor is also facing another civil lawsuit from Halyna’s parents and sister.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Jan. 19, Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel said the announcement of criminal charges against the actor “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set,” Nikas added. “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Rust is officially set to resume production in the spring, over one year after Hutchins was killed in an October 2021 on-set shooting.
Rust Movie Productions announced that director Joel Souza, who was injured in the shooting, is among at least four original crew members on the production who will return to complete the film. A press release stated that Hutchins’ widower Matthew will join the production as an executive producer, alongside Academy Award-nominated producer Grant Hill (The Thin Red Line).
Baldwin will also return to star.