The US actor was holding a Colt .45 during rehearsals for low-budget Western “Rust” in October 2021 when it discharged, killing Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
“The prosecutors in this case have committed an unconstitutional and elementary legal error by charging Mr Baldwin under a statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,” his legal team wrote.
New Mexico prosecutors have said they believe the death of 42-year-old Hutchins was an accident, but insist Baldwin and the movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are culpable for involuntary manslaughter.
Both face up to 18 months in jail if convicted, with the more serious of two possible charges also including an additional five years’ prison sentence because of a so-called firearm enhancement — an additional punishment due to a gun being involved.
But in court documents filed in New Mexico on Friday, Baldwin’s lawyers said this enhancement was not on New Mexico’s books at the time of the incident.
The filing says there was a firearm enhancement law in October 2021, but it required that the weapon be “brandished” — displayed in a deliberately intimidating fashion.
“The government’s statement of probable cause contains no allegation that Mr. Baldwin acted ‘with intent to intimidate or injure a person,’ and its description of the alleged conduct makes clear that the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was an accident,” the court documents say.