Alec Baldwin's Lawyers Slam “Rust” Prosecutors' Tactics as 'Appalling' in Bitter New Court Filing

The actor is seeking to have his involuntary manslaughter case dismissed ahead of his July trial

<p>Mike Coppola/Getty </p> Alec Baldwin in 2022

Mike Coppola/Getty

Alec Baldwin in 2022

Alec Baldwin’s legal team slammed prosecutors in the Rust case, referring to some of their arguments as “appalling” and accusing them of “abuse” in new court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Baldwin, 66, is headed to trial in July for an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to the accidental on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in New Mexico in 2021. In March, his attorneys filed a motion to have the case dismissed.

The attorneys made several arguments in their motion, including a claim that special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey gave “prejudicial” instructions to a grand jury, which ultimately indicted the Western film's star and producer, who was holding a prop gun when it discharged, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin, who has insisted he did not pull the trigger or know the gun accidentally contained live ammunition, faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted at trial.

In their April response, Morrissey and fellow special prosecutor Jason J. Lewis called the claims from Baldwin’s lawyers “patently false.” In the same documents, they claimed Baldwin was “frequently screaming and cursing” on set and called him “a man who has absolutely no control of his own emotions and absolutely no concern for how his conduct affects those around him.”

Related: Alec Baldwin Wants His Rust Manslaughter Case Dismissed. A Legal Expert Notes His ‘Strongest Argument’ (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office Alec Baldwin on the set of 'Rust'
Courtesy of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office Alec Baldwin on the set of 'Rust'

On April 22, the Emmy winner’s attorneys filed a reply to that response, which opened with a blistering quote: “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. –Anonymous.”

Their motion to dismiss, they wrote, “raises serious legal issues, makes serious legal arguments that are supported by binding legal precedents, and carries serious legal consequences — not only for Alec Baldwin but for all New Mexico citizens.”

“The motion therefore deserved a serious response addressing Baldwin’s arguments about the State’s misconduct in the grand jury proceeding,” they continued. “Instead, the State responded with a 32-page jeremiad against Baldwin and his lawyers that does not cite a single legal decision, does not distinguish Baldwin’s authorities, and spends no more than five pages addressing the core legal issues raised in Baldwin’s motion.”

“This fact bears repeating: the State does not cite a single legal decision in its entire brief. Literally. A legal brief without any legal authority is not worth the paper it’s written on,” they continued.

“Unfortunately, that is no surprise: for Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey, prosecuting Alec Baldwin has never been about the law. It is, in her words, about using the justice system to ‘humble’ an ‘arrogant’ celebrity that she dislikes. The State’s ‘opposition’ should be rejected, and Baldwin’s motion should be granted.”

<p>Mostafa Bassim Adly/Anadolu Agency/Getty</p> Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, where 'Rust' was filmed

Mostafa Bassim Adly/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, where 'Rust' was filmed

The attorneys went through several arguments they had previously made in their initial motion to have the case dismissed, and noted the prosecutors’ responses.

In regard to the grand jury, Baldwin’s attorneys alleged that the State “ensured that the grand jury would have no access to Baldwin’s exculpatory witnesses or exculpatory evidence.” They said Morrissey “essentially claims that she was free to ignore the Court’s order” to do so.

“Everything about that response is appalling,” they wrote.

Related: Everything to Know About the Rust Shooting Case and Alec Baldwin's Upcoming Trial

In a statement to PEOPLE, Morrissey says, “We stand by the statements and arguments in our response. The grand jury presentation was conducted in strict compliance with the Court’s order.”

In another section of the document, Baldwin’s attorney’s also accused the prosecutors of “stunning abuse of prosecutorial power” for rescinding a plea deal they offered him last year.

Fred Hayes/Getty Halyna Hutchins in 2019
Fred Hayes/Getty Halyna Hutchins in 2019

They offered Baldwin the chance to plead to a misdemeanor months before a grand jury indicted him on a felony manslaughter charge in January. The offer, which was presented to Baldwin’s legal team last October, included six months of unsupervised probation, a $500 fine, 24 hours of community service and a firearms safety class.

But before Baldwin could accept the terms, the prosecutors rescinded their offer, in part because they claimed they learned he was working on a documentary about Hutchins and was seeking to interview material witnesses. It was then that they decided to go forward and seek an indictment.

The attorneys for Baldwin, who deny he is making his own documentary about Hutchins, wrote, “Morrissey’s stated reason for rescinding Baldwin’s plea offer is a completely inappropriate basis for prosecutorial action and alone demonstrated her bad faith.”

Related: Rust Armorer's 'Swift' Guilty Verdict in Halyna Hutchins' Death Could Hint at Alec Baldwin’s Fate: Expert (Exclusive)

As for what happens next with the motion to dismiss, now that Baldwin’s team has filed their reply to the State’s response, the judge in the case, Mary Marlowe Sommer, could make a decision based on the filings or schedule a hearing to allow attorneys for both sides to argue their points, according to legal expert Emily D. Baker, a lawyer and former L.A. Deputy District Attorney who is not involved in the case.

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 26, who was in charge of overseeing the weapons on set, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in March and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.