Hollywood star Alec Baldwin, who faces court after being fatally shot while filming a western, has won before the trial began. At the request of his lawyers, the New Mexico Attorney’s Office dropped a charge against the 64-year-old actor. Now, if found guilty, Baldwin could get away with a significantly reduced sentence.

The more serious charge of negligent homicide in connection with the use of firearms was dropped, prosecutors said on Monday. This could have earned Baldwin five years in prison. His lawyers argued that this allegation was legally flawed because the relevant legal basis for it only came into force months after the fatal shooting on the set of the Western shoot.

Baldwin and gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed now face involuntary manslaughter, a possible sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

Camerawoman Halyna Hutchins was fatally injured while filming the western “Rust” at a Santa Fe film ranch in October 2021. Baldwin, who served as lead actor and producer on the film, was holding a gun in rehearsal for a scene when a shot went off. The projectile hit director Joel Souza in the shoulder, injuring him. Investigations revealed that the Colt had a real bullet lodged in it. Baldwin and the armorer had always denied responsibility for the fatal accident.

At the end of January, the public prosecutor’s office filed the charges. Baldwin acted in many ways “extremely” negligent. As an actor and as a producer of the film, he disregarded numerous safety regulations, according to the court documents, among other things. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.