“It’s become apparent that we will be potentially charging between one and four people with criminal charges,” Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said during a meeting last week
Alec Baldwin could potentially face charges in the fatal shooting that occurred last year on the set of Rust, according to Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
During a New Mexico Board of Finance meeting held Sept. 20, Carmack-Altwies requested emergency funding in excess of $635,000 to continue the investigation into the tragedy that took place on Oct. 21 — when Baldwin, 64, was holding the gun that discharged and killed 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger.
“We are within weeks, if not days, of receiving the final report from the sheriff’s office,” she shared, per a video recording of their meeting seen by PEOPLE. Carmack-Altwies said that, while awaiting the final report, “it’s become apparent that we will be potentially charging between one and four people with criminal charges, and each of those charges will probably include some variation of our homicide statute.”
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In a letter to the New Mexico Board of Finance, obtained and published by Deadline, the district attorney’s office stated, “One of the possible defendants is well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin,” adding that the case “could require up to 4 separate jury trials.”
On Monday, Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, told PEOPLE in a statement: “Some media reports today draw false conclusions based on a letter from the Santa Fe Dist. Attorney.”
“The DA has made clear that she has not received the sheriff’s report or made any decisions about who, if anyone, might be charged in this case,” the statement continued. “And during my communications with the DA’s office just a few weeks ago, after the August 30 funding request was submitted, I was told that it would be premature to discuss the case because they had not yet reviewed the file or deliberated about their charging decision.”
“It is irresponsible to report otherwise,” the statement concluded. “The DA’s office must be given the space to review this matter without unfounded speculation and innuendo.”
At last week’s meeting, Carmack-Altwies noted that homicide cases are the most “complex and litigious,” requiring her office to hire more staff.
“These cases look to be too big for just my office to handle,” she explained. “We need an almost full-time attorney and someone who is very experienced on complex cases and very experienced with litigation.”
She added the financial support could also potentially be used to “retain experts” who specialize in aspects such as firearms, armorer protocols and safety protocols on movie sets. The board of finance later approved $317,750 for the emergency fund requested by the district attorney.
The First Judicial District Attorney’s office told PEOPLE on Tuesday they “are not providing any additional statements at this time.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s detectives received the FBI’s completed forensic reports on Aug. 2, authorities confirmed in a press release last month. Additionally, detectives are still in the process of “obtaining, processing, and disclosing Alec Baldwin’s phone records.”
Once detectives finish reviewing the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator reports and the phone records, the final sheriff’s office investigation case file will be forwarded to the District Attorney for review and final charging decisions, the press release added.
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According to an FBI forensic report released last month, the revolver at the center of this case — when “intact and functional” — “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger” unless the hammer was “de-cocked on a loaded chamber” and “the hammer was struck directly.”
Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, said in a statement to ABC News that the FBI report is “being misconstrued.” He added, “The gun fired in testing only one time — without having to pull the trigger — when the hammer was pulled back and the gun broke in two different places. The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”
“The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident,” added Nikas. “This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was ‘cold,’ and believed the gun was safe.”
A postmortem report from the medical examiners obtained by PEOPLE noted that “review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set.”
“Based on all available information, including the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death, the manner of death is best classified as accident,” the report concluded.
Last December, Baldwin said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he “didn’t pull the trigger” on the gun during the on-set tragedy. “The trigger wasn’t pulled,” he said at the time. “I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never.”