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Alec Baldwin Scores Big Win In ‘Rust’ Pre-Trial

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled that prosecutors could not present evidence of Baldwin's role as a producer on Lust, a major victory for the star.

A judge ruled Monday that Baldwin's involvement as a co-producer is irrelevant to the trial over the deadly shooting in 2021. Baldwin's status as one of the film's producers is a key element of the state's argument, which has argued that the actor's recklessness in that capacity led to the death of cinematographer Halina Hutchins. Associated PressThe legal victory comes just one day before the famed actor's manslaughter trial is set to begin, according to the Associated Press.

(From left) Attorney Alex Spiro, American actor Alec Baldwin, Luke Nikas and Heather LeBlanc attend a pretrial hearing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 8, 2024. Baldwin faces a single charge of manslaughter in the death of a cinematographer. In October 2021, on the set of the low-budget Western “Lust” in New Mexico, Baldwin pointed a gun at him, which fired live ammunition, killing the film's cinematographer Halina Hutchins and wounding the director. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin/Pool/AFP) (Photo by Ross D. Franklin/Pool/AFP/via Getty Images)

The new ruling is a setback for prosecutors who had planned to present evidence showing that Baldwin was responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. The legal process must focus on his role as an actor and the fact that he was carrying a gun at the time of the shooting. Any arguments that Baldwin was responsible for overseeing the entire set as a producer will not be admissible.

“I'm very troubled by the state's position that they're trying to show that Mr. Baldwin, as an actor, made all these mistakes that led to Ms. Hutchins' death because he didn't follow the guidelines as a producer, and that as a producer he allowed these things to happen,” Judge Marlowe Sommer told The Associated Press.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - JULY 8: Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer speaks during a pretrial hearing at the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico on July 8, 2024. Alec Baldwin is charged with a single count of manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halina Hutchins on the set of the film

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – JULY 8: Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer speaks during a pretrial hearing at the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico on July 8, 2024. Alec Baldwin is charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halina Hutchins on the set of the film “Lust.” (Photo by Ross D. Franklin – Pool/Getty Images)

American actor Alec Baldwin leaves court after attending a pretrial hearing ahead of his manslaughter trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 8, 2024. Jury selection for Baldwin's trial is scheduled to begin on July 9. On the set of a low-budget Western filmed in New Mexico in October 2021, "rust," Baldwin pointed the gun at the camera, firing live ammunition, killing the film's cinematographer, Halina Hutchins, and wounding the director. (Photo: Frederick J. Brown/AFP) (Photo: Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

American actor Alec Baldwin leaves court during a pretrial hearing ahead of his manslaughter trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 8, 2024. Jury selection for Baldwin's trial is scheduled to begin on July 9. In October 2021, on the set of the low-budget Western Lust in New Mexico, Baldwin pointed a gun at the camera, firing live ammunition, killing the film's cinematographer Halina Hutchins and injuring the director. (Frederick J. Brown/AFP) (Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

“I reject the evidence that he is a producer,” she told the court.

Special prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson argued that Baldwin was “fully aware” of his obligations to maintain a safe work environment as a co-producer and tried to suggest his negligence went far beyond the use of the firearm in question, but her arguments were rejected, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED: Alec Baldwin files two motions to dismiss manslaughter charges in 'Lust' shooting)

Baldwin was in court in person, sitting between lead attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro.

The manslaughter trial begins June 9 in New Mexico.

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