Judge denies Alec Baldwin's request to dismiss manslaughter case

A New Mexico judge has denied Alec Baldwin's motion to throw out his manslaughter indictment.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected each of Baldwin's lawyers' arguments for dismissal.

She found that the grand jury process was not prejudiced against the actor, keeping the case on schedule for trial in July, according to Variety.

Baldwin is facing up to 18 months in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

He is accused of negligently pointing his gun at Hutchins and pulling the trigger while preparing to film a scene, and has also been faulted for contributing to lax safety standards on set.

Baldwin's lawyers sought to throw out the indictment, arguing that prosecutor Kari Morrissey steered the grand jury away from exculpatory information, and failed to make defence witnesses available.

In her ruling on Friday, Marlowe Sommer noted that Morrissey had read a letter from the defense verbatim to the grand jurors, and the grand jurors elected not to follow up on it.

"The Court is not in a position to second-guess the grand jury's decision in this regard," the judge wrote.

Baldwin has denied that he pulled the trigger, and has also denied that it was his responsibility to make sure the gun was safe.

His attorneys issued a brief statement after Friday's ruling: "We look forward to our day in court."

The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, is already serving an 18-month prison sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in March.

Prosecutors argued that she was sloppy and unprofessional, and that she failed to make sure that no live rounds made their way onto set.