Major Shakeup in Upcoming 'Rust' Trial

Major Shakeup in Upcoming 'Rust' Trial

The legal team tasked with prosecuting Alec Baldwin for involuntary manslaughter in the tragic shooting incident on the set of the movie "Rust" has encountered a shakeup. Originally comprising three lawyers, the team is now reduced to two, as Prosecutor Jason Lewis has filed a motion to withdraw from the case, as reported by People.

The charge against Baldwin stems from the fatal 2021 incident in which cinematographer Halyna Hutchins lost her life after a firearm Baldwin was handling discharged a live round.

Last month, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film's armorer, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and faces a sentence of 18 months in prison.

According to Extra, tension within Baldwin's legal team emerged following criticisms of special prosecutor Kari Morrissey, ultimately leading to Lewis's decision to step down from the case.

However, Morrissey refuted claims of discord within the prosecution team, stating, "There has been no infighting. Mr. Lewis and I have been close friends for 25 years and there has been no infighting or significant disagreements," as reported by Fox News.

Morrissey clarified that Lewis withdrew from the case due to prior commitments preventing him from adequately preparing for the trial, despite efforts to balance his obligations.

Erlinda Johnson, a personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights attorney, has joined the prosecution team in Lewis's stead. Notably, Johnson had previously expressed views attributing some level of liability to Baldwin for Hutchins' death.

Meanwhile, Baldwin's defense attorneys are seeking to have the case dismissed, alleging that exculpatory evidence was not presented to the grand jury that indicted him. They further claim that the prosecution attempted to coerce witnesses into providing false testimony, as per KOAT-TV.

Legal expert John Day highlighted the rarity of courts overturning grand jury indictments or dismissing charges but acknowledged that the judge will carefully consider the arguments presented before the scheduled trial in July.

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