Over the incident in “Rust,” Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter charges with potential jail sentences are pending against American actor Alec Baldwin in connection with the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in New Mexico in 2021 while the Western “Rust” was being filmed.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer in the movie, will face involuntary manslaughter charges as well, according to Santa Fe’s senior prosecutor, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, who made the announcement on Thursday. By the end of the month, she promised, charges would be brought.

In contrast to Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas, who said that the judgment “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and reflects a terrible miscarriage of justice,” Hutchins’ family applauded the news.

The decision to press charges was unexpected in Hollywood and came after more than a year of inquiry into what happened when a pistol accidentally fired a live round in October 2021 when Baldwin, 64, was practicing with it on the set of the movie being shot outside of Santa Fe. The same.45-caliber bullet that struck and wounded Hutchins also struck and injured the film’s director, Joel Souza.

An inquiry by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office turned up that no information on how live ammo got onto the set.

According to a police report, David Halls, the assistant director who gave Baldwin the firearm, informed him that it was “cold,” which is a phrase used in the business to denote the absence of blank cartridges.

According to Carmack-Altwies, Halls entered into a plea agreement for the allegation of careless use of a deadly weapon. Before Halls, Gutierrez-Reed had used the gun.

According to prosecutors, it is part of industry requirements for actors to confirm that firearms are secure to use and to adhere to fundamental gun laws like not aiming weapons at others.

Baldwin has disputed that notion, claiming that the armorer and first director were in charge of ensuring the safety of the firearms and that he was told to shoot the videographer.

In a statement, Carmack-Altwies stated, “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

In a statement, Carmack-Altwies stated, “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

Legal experts noted that if on-set professionals assured Baldwin the gun was not loaded, he wouldn’t be required to inspect it himself, therefore prosecutors may have a difficult time getting a conviction.

Despite not being engaged in the “Rust” case, personal injury lawyer and former prosecutor Neama Rahmani commented, “It’s a highly aggressive charge choice and the defense has a good case.” “This kind of accident is not enough to warrant criminal culpability.”

According to the prosecution, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be charged “in the alternative” with two charges of manslaughter. This means that the jury will determine whether the definition of involuntary manslaughter applies to their guilt or innocence.

Negligence-based simple involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. They might be sentenced to a mandatory five-year prison term if prosecutors can show there was more than just ordinary negligence involved in the use of a handgun.

Baldwin claims that he did not fire the Pietta replica.45-caliber long Colt revolver that killed Hutchins. Baldwin has denied any involvement in the shooting.

The pistol “functioned normally” and would not fire without the trigger being pressed, according to an FBI forensic examination.

There was no reason for Mr. Baldwin to think there was a live bullet in the rifle or anyplace else on the set. He trusted the experts with whom he worked when they assured him that the rifle was empty of live ammunition.

We’ll fight these accusations and prevail “Nikas, his attorney added.

Advice regarding firearms from the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA advises actors to treat firearms as though they were loaded with blanks and to rely on weapons handlers to provide them with instructions on how to use them, including when it is safe to point a pistol at a camera subject.

The union attacked Carmack-Altwies’ charging choice as “uninformed,” claiming that “an actor’s role is not to be a firearms or weapons expert.”

Kirk Acevedo, who starred in HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” was one of the stars who publicly endorse Baldwin.

“The majority of performers have never ever shot a real gun. They have no experience with firearms; the armorer or prop master must demonstrate “Acevedo posted in a sorrowful tweet.

Attorney Brian Panish, who is defending the Hutchins family, claimed that his findings indicated that the charges were appropriate.

Matt Hutchins, the husband of the cinematographer, filed a lawsuit against Baldwin in 2021, stating that the Emmy-winning actor from “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” and others ignored normal industry safety procedures. In a settlement from the previous year, Hutchins was appointed executive producer of “Rust.” Outside of New Mexico, production was supposed to start up again in early 2023.

For what it called “willful” safety violations that resulted in Hutchins’ death, New Mexico’s worker safety agency in April fined the movie’s production firm $137,000, the maximum sum that could be imposed.

Camera operators at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, south of Santa Fe, protested over what they perceived as unsafe set settings and working circumstances hours before the event.

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