The New Mexico attorney general’s office filed formal charges of involuntary manslaughter against actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist on Tuesday for the shooting death of a cinematographer on a film set in that state. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies of Santa Fe has filed charges against Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed for their roles as weapons supervisors on the set of the Western “Rust.“
The filing comes nearly two weeks after she first announced that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would be prosecuted for a “pattern of criminal disregard for safety,” as described by law enforcement. Carmack-Altwies has, in the past few weeks, detailed two sets of involuntary manslaughter charges related to the shooting.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed insist that the accusations against them are false. On Tuesday, Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, declined to comment further on the case and instead referred back to his previous statement, in which he called the charges a “terrible miscarriage of justice” and promised that his client would prevail through vigorous legal representation.
“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.”
The lawyer representing Gutierrez-Reed said a statement would be issued later. On October 21, 2021, during dress rehearsals at a ranch outside of Santa Fe, Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed. Baldwin had Hutchins in his sights when the gun went off, fatally wounding director Joel Souza and killing Hutchins.
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Baldwin’s role as a producer and as the person who fired the gun were factors, according to the prosecution. Baldwin is being charged with manslaughter, which carries with it a number of potential penalties. For killing another person “without due caution and circumspection,” one could be charged with manslaughter.
New safety measures have been implemented in the film industry as a result of Hutchins’ death. In an interview with The Associated Press on January 19, Carmack-Altwies said that the set was “really being run pretty fast and loose” and that Baldwin should have been aware of the previous misfires and safety concerns raised by crew members.
She further explained that Baldwin was the one who pointed and fired the weapon. A court summons will be issued for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed. Instead of using a grand jury, prosecutors will ask the judge to decide if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. The decision process could take up to 60 days.
Alec Baldwin has now officially been charged in the fatal "Rust" movie set shooting. Prosecutors offered much more detail and cited his media interviews against him. They think he is lying. @jennburrill joins @danabrams to discuss.#DanAbramsLive pic.twitter.com/D4FetleRyu
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) February 1, 2023
A defendant may be guilty of involuntary manslaughter if he or she causes the death of another person while engaging in a lawful but risky activity, but is acting negligently or without due caution. On the set of “Rust,” special prosecutor Andrea Reeb noted a pattern of “criminal disregard for safety.”
Assistant director David Halls, who was responsible for set safety, has pleaded guilty, and the terms of his agreement with prosecutors are set to be made public. There are conflicting accounts of who gave Baldwin the gun during the unfilmed dress rehearsal. They stated that Halls has decided to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon.
The district attorney’s office spokeswoman, Heather Brewer, said in a statement released on Monday that prosecutors are
“fully focused on securing justice for Halyna Hutchins”
“the evidence and the facts speak for themselves.”
Baldwin, who was also involved in producing “Rust,” has stated that the death was an unfortunate accident. The 64-year-old actor is suing those responsible for the handling and supply of the loaded.45-caliber revolver to clear his name, claiming he was misinformed about the weapon’s safety. Baldwin claims in his lawsuit that he and Hutchins were adjusting camera angles when he pointed the gun at her and pulled back, releasing the hammer.
Gutierrez-attorney, Reed’s Jason Bowles, argued that the accusations stem from a “flawed investigation” and an “inaccurate understanding of the full facts.” In many preliminary court procedures, defendants have the option of participating remotely or even having their initial court appearance excused.
Baldwin’s 40-year career has included the early blockbuster “The Hunt for Red October,” a prominent role in the sitcom “30 Rock,” and legendary turns in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” and a cinematic adaption of David Mamet’s “Glengary Glen Ross.” Baldwin gained fame in recent years thanks to his portrayal of Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”