Alec Baldwin is attempting to have one of the charges of involuntary manslaughter, which could see him jailed for five years, thrown out by a US court.
Lawyers for the actor argued that New Mexico prosecutors had committed an “unconstitutional and elementary legal error” by charging him under a statute that did not exist at the time of the fatal shooting.
Baldwin was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office, over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in on the set of the western movie Rust in October 2021.
The first charge can be referred to as involuntary manslaughter and requires proof of underlying negligence.
The second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death, and includes a firearm enhancement, which makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in prison.
But in a filing on Friday, Baldwin’s lawyers said the enhancement had only been enacted last May, seven months after the incident, and that the charge was therefore “unlawful”.
“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,” the motion read.
“It thus appears that the government intended to charge the current version of the firearm enhancement statute, which was not enacted until May 18 2022, seven months after the accident.”
The filing added: “Mr Baldwin also respectfully requests that the Court decline to bind over that enhancement.”
Baldwin is due to make his first court appearance in two weeks on 24 February, to face the charges.
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It comes after a separate civil lawsuit was filed on Thursday by the family of Ms Hutchins.
The family are suing Baldwin and the Rust movie production company alleging battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium is a claim which seeks to recover compensation for damage to certain relationships that are mutually dependent.