Alec Baldwin Charged With Manslaughter in ‘Rust’ Shooting
Alec Baldwin will be charged by New Mexico prosecutors for the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust,” authorities reported on Thursday (January 19, 2023.)
Baldwin, the Emmy-winning star of “30 Rock” and dozens of films such as “The Hunt for Red October,” shot the bullet that killed Hutchins. Baldwin said he “didn’t pull the trigger” in an ABC interview. An FBI forensic report obtained by ABC News uncovered that despite Baldwin’s refusal, the gun could not have gone off without the trigger being pulled.
Baldwin and the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, each will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. One of the involuntary manslaughter counts is one in which prosecutors will have to prove there is underlying negligence, prosecutors said. This is a fourth-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The second involuntary manslaughter charge is one for the commission of a lawful act, a more severe charge which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death, prosecutors said. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, which adds a mandatory penalty of five years in jail.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be charged under a standard called “charged in the alternative.” If the case ends up going to trial, a jury will determine which of the two charges they’re guilty of.
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“Rust” assistant director David Halls signed a plea deal for the charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon, resulting in a suspended sentence and six months of probation.
“If any one of these three people, Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, or David Halls, had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,” Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor on the case, said in a statement Thursday. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set.”
The prosecutors’ decision is “a terrible miscarriage of justice,” said Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys called it a “very flawed investigation” in a statement Thursday. “Hannah is and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter,” they said.
Through lawyers, relatives of Hutchins thanked authorities for pursuing the charges.
“It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law,” attorney Brian Panish said. “We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”
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