According to court records submitted by US prosecutors on Tuesday, actor Alec Baldwin and a firearms expert have been formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set.
Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who oversaw firearms on the set of the Western movie Rust, were named in the charging documents filed by Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
On October 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins was injured while performing at a ranch outside of Santa Fe, and she passed away soon after. Hutchins was killed, and director Joel Souza was injured when Baldwin’s revolver went off as he aimed it at Hutchins.
According to the prosecution, Baldwin’s role as a producer and the shooter’s identity influenced the decision to press charges.
Alec Baldwin in 2017: “Trump is going to prison!”
Alec Baldwin in 2018: “Trump is going to prison!”
Alec Baldwin in 2019: “Trump is going to prison!”
Alec Baldwin in 2020: “Trump is going to prison!”
Alec Baldwin in 2023: Alec Baldwin is going to prison.
— John D (@RedWingGrips) January 21, 2023
The charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were officially filed on Tuesday, almost two weeks after prosecutor Carmack-Altwies first said they would be tried for what the police have called a pattern of criminal disregard for safety. She described two sets of involuntary manslaughter accusations in connection with the incident in recent weeks.
Baldwin is accused of manslaughter and is subject to alternative standards and penalties. For willful disregard of safety, “without due caution and circumspection,” homicide charges would be brought.
Baldwin is accused of committing numerous “very irresponsible acts” or careless failures to exercise caution in the days and moments preceding the fatal shooting, according to a probable cause statement describing the evidence against her.
Investigators claim that when industry norms should have used a plastic or imitation gun, Baldwin pulled a revolver out of a holster, pointed it at Hutchins, and discharged the weapon.
The statement also claims that images and recordings of the rehearsal, including those taken just before the fatal shooting, showed Baldwin “manipulating” the pistol’s hammer with his finger inside the trigger guard and that an FBI analysis demonstrates that the gun could not have been fired without pulling the trigger.
Investigators claim Baldwin skipped the required firearms training before shooting and was preoccupied with family calls. At the same time, on the scene, which prevented him from finishing the activity in its entirety. Additionally, they pointed out several violations of the needed safety checks and procedures while the pistol was loaded and given to Baldwin.
Gutierrez-Reed and Alec Baldwin asserted their innocence and vowed to fight the allegations.
Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday and instead referred to his earlier remarks in which he referred to the accusations as an “awful miscarriage of justice” that he and his client will battle and overturn.
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set,” the statement said. “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked.”
The attorney for Gutierrez-Reed promised to comment later.
Due to Hutchins’s passing, the film business has already implemented new safety measures.
The set, according to Carmack-Altwies, was “actually being run quite fast and free,” she told The Associated Press in an interview on January 19. She claimed Baldwin ought to have been aware that there had been set misfires in the past and that several people had raised safety issues.
A summons to appear in court will be issued for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed. In place of a grand jury, prosecutors will ask the court to rule on whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. A decision might not be made for up to 60 days.
Involuntary manslaughter can involve a fatality when a defendant engages in a legitimate but risky activity and acts carelessly or recklessly.
According to the prosecution, a proposed plea agreement signed by the movie’s assistant director David Halls, who was responsible for the set’s security, cannot be made public because it has not yet received a judge’s approval.
According to the prosecution’s prior statement, halls has consented to enter a guilty plea to careless use of a deadly weapon. According to the trial, halls may have handled the gun inappropriately before giving it to Baldwin.
Prosecutors are “totally committed to getting justice for Halyna Hutchins,” said Heather Brewer, a district attorney’s office spokesman, who noted that “the evidence and the facts speak for themselves.”
Rust co-producer and actor Baldwin has called the death “a horrible accident.” The 64-year-old actor claims he was informed the loaded.45-caliber revolver was safe, and he is suing those responsible for handling and supplying the weapon to cleanse his name.
Baldwin said in his lawsuit that as he and Hutchins were adjusting camera angles, he pointed the gun in her direction, drew back, and released the weapon’s hammer, causing it to discharge.
According to Gutierrez-defense Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles, the allegations result from a “flawed investigation” and an “inaccurate grasp of the facts.”
Many initial court hearings allow defendants to participate remotely or request their initial attendance waived.
Baldwin, an A-list actor whose 40-year career included the early blockbuster The Hunt for Red October and a starring role in the sitcom 30 Rock, as well as iconic appearances in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and a film adaptation of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, is now facing charges, which is a startling turn of events.
Baldwin gained notoriety recently for playing Donald Trump, a former US president, on the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live.