Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial remains on course to begin next month, despite vigorous attempts by his legal team to have the charges dismissed. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer has steadfastly rejected motions to dismiss the case, marking the third such ruling in just five weeks, as reported by People Magazine.

Baldwin’s lawyers argue that key evidence related to the prop gun—allegedly fired by Baldwin, resulting in the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the injury of director Joel Souza—was destroyed. The fatal incident occurred in October 2021 on the set of the Western film “Rust,” plunging Baldwin into a legal nightmare that could see the “30 Rock” star facing up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

The defense has pointed to the FBI’s accidental discharge test on the gun, which involved striking it with a mallet from several angles until it broke. Baldwin’s attorneys claim this destruction has hampered their ability to examine the weapon for possible modifications or defects that might exonerate him. Baldwin has consistently maintained his innocence, stating that while he cocked the hammer, he did not pull the trigger.

Judge Marlowe Sommer, however, has ruled that the destruction of the gun’s internal components is “not highly prejudicial” to a fair trial and found no bad faith on the part of investigators. Prosecutors acknowledged the unfortunate breaking of the gun but emphasized that it had not been destroyed entirely.

In May, the New Mexico judge also dismissed defense arguments suggesting that prosecutors had violated grand jury rules. Baldwin’s legal team contends that the presence of live rounds on the set was “incomprehensible” and asserts that the responsibility for ensuring the gun was safe lay with the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

Gutierrez-Reed, currently serving an 18-month prison sentence in connection with Hutchins’ death, has her own legal battle. Her attorneys recently filed documents accusing prosecutors of concealing a report that suggested “unexplained” alterations to the gun’s trigger. Gun expert Lucien Haag initially noted markings on the gun that did not appear to be original manufacturing marks or the result of FBI testing. However, he later recanted this report, attributing the marks to the FBI’s testing.

Despite these ongoing legal wranglings, production on “Rust” resumed, moving to Montana under an agreement with Hutchins’ husband, who was also made an executive producer. The film’s completion is a somber reminder of the tragic events that have overshadowed its production.

As Baldwin’s trial date of July 9 approaches, the stakes remain high for the actor-producer. This case not only highlights the tragic loss of Halyna Hutchins but also raises serious questions about safety protocols and accountability on film sets. With Baldwin facing significant prison time, the trial promises to be a closely watched legal battle, drawing attention from Hollywood and beyond.