Alec Baldwin officially charged for ‘reckless acts’ leading to shooting on ‘Rust’ set – National

Alec Baldwin officially charged for ‘reckless acts’ leading to shooting on ‘Rust’ set – National

Prosecutors have formally charged actor Alec Baldwin and a film set gunsmith with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.

The Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday released a statement of probable cause, detailing the charges against Baldwin, 64, and gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed originally announced on Jan. 19.

In the document, prosecutors charged Baldwin with “many counts of extremely reckless acts” during the film’s production.

They wrote that Baldwin was “not present” for mandatory firearms training before filming began. Instead, he was given on-set instruction, but prosecutors allege he was “distracted and on his cell phone talking to his family.” The training session was scheduled to last an hour but only lasted 30 minutes due to Baldwin’s “distraction” on the phone.

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Prosecutors wrote that Baldwin’s lack of firearms training “does not meet industry standards.” They argued that if Baldwin had performed mandatory security checks before pointing the gun on the set, Hutchins would not have been killed.

Baldwin has not yet commented on the official charges, but previously said through his attorney that he “had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the film set.”

“He relied on the professionals he worked with to reassure him that the gun had no live rounds,” Baldwin’s attorney said. “We will fight these allegations and we will win.”

Gutierrez-Reed has argued that she verified that the gun Baldwin fired was loaded with dummy cartridges before passing it to Rust’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who then passed it to Baldwin. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers have also vowed to take action against the charges, accusing Halls of not allowing her to use a plastic gun during the fatal rehearsal scene.

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The prosecutor’s statement detailed several “reckless acts or omissions” on the Rust set. These included not using a prop gun during unscheduled rehearsals, willful ignorance of on-set safety complaints, and lack of security checks by Gunsmith. The document also alleges that Gutierrez-Reed left the Rust sentence against protocol.

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The charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed carry a possible sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 ($6,658) fine.

Halls, the assistant director, was also charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon for handing the loaded gun to Baldwin. He should plead guilty.

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In October 2021, Hutchins was hit and killed by a shot from Baldwin that contained a “live round”. Rust writer and director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident.

The shooting took place while Baldwin was rehearsing with what he believed to be a safe gun, provided by Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of the guns on set. Baldwin has consistently denied responsibility for Hutchins’ death, saying live rounds should never have been allowed on set. He claims he didn’t know the gun was loaded when he fired.

In April, footage of Alec Baldwin was released by police just minutes after the fatal shooting.

In silent rehearsal footage, Baldwin can be seen quickly drawing and aiming a F.lli Pietta 45 Long Colt revolver, the same gun that later misfired. He can be seen with his finger on the trigger.

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Baldwin confirmed to officers in a separate police video, “I was the one holding the gun.”

Later in August, Hutchins’ death was ruled an accident by the New Mexico Medical Investigator’s Office after completing an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports.

In the fall, Baldwin reached a settlement with Hutchins’ estate. As part of the deal, Matthew Hutchins became executive producer on Rust, which was due to start filming again this month. It’s unclear how the new charges will affect plans to resume the film.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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