Alec Baldwin and ‘Rust’ filmmakers to face charges of involuntary manslaughter in deadly set shooting.




CNN

More than a year after cinematographer Halina Hutchins was shot dead by Alec Baldwin on the set of The Last, prosecutors have announced: Bill Actors and Film Armorers He was accused of involuntary manslaughter and failure to perform an important firearm safety duty that could have prevented a tragic accident.

Hutchins was killed in the film’s New Mexico, set in October 2021, when Baldwin’s prop gun fired live rounds and hit Hutchins in the chest. Director Joel Sousa on the shoulder.

Baldwin claims he never pulled the trigger and was unaware that the gun contained live ammunition. Set Armor’s Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who loaded the prop gun, believed the bullet was dummy ammunition, according to the attorney.

But prosecutors say both Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed were responsible for checking the safety of the props.

“Everyone who handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they handle it, they will not aim it at someone and pull the trigger to fire a projectile and kill someone.” New Mexico First District Attorney Mary Carmack Altwiths told CNN on Thursday.

Alec Baldwin in a parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in 2021 after being questioned about the shooting.

Baldwin and Gutierrez Reid each face two counts of manslaughter, but each charge carries a different level of punishment, Carmack Altwith said when she announced the charges.

A jury will decide which count is more appropriate, and if convicted, they will be sentenced to only one count, prosecutors said.

In either case, conviction carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a fine of $5,000. However, one count included additional firearm hardening because it involved a firearm, which would require mandatory punishment of five years in prison, prosecutors said.

The indictment is expected to be formally filed by the end of this month, Carmack-Altwies told CNN.

Prosecutors said she would not call for the arrests of Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed. Instead, they would be summoned to appear in court, either in person or virtually, she said.

With the trial looming, CNN senior legal analyst Ellie Honig said prosecutors were unsure of how the live rounds were conducted on set, as well as a lack of expert knowledge of the on-set responsibilities of actors and crew members. It states that significant challenges need to be overcome, such as differing opinions.

“Remember, this is a criminal case. It takes all 12 jurors to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So I’m not saying there’s no chance here.” No, but this is a very difficult case for prosecutors,” Honig said.

This image from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office shows the scene of the October 21, 2021 shooting.

A coroner ruled Hutchins’ death to be an accident, but prosecutors allege that the set’s “quick and lax” safety standards and lack of caution regarding firearm props contributed to the fatal shooting.

“There was a huge lack of safety and safety standards on that set,” Carmack Altwith told CNN, adding that the set had a mix of live and dummy rounds.

“Nobody checked them, at least not consistently,” she said. “And somehow it got loaded into the gun that was handed to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check it. Then he pointed the gun at Halina Hutchins and pulled the trigger.”

Baldwin said he did not pull the trigger before the gun fired.

According to the FBI’s forensic report, during the FBI’s testing of the gun’s proper functioning, the gun could not be fired without pulling the trigger while it was cocked. Ultimately, the gun malfunctioned during testing after an internal component broke, causing the gun to fire in the cocked position without pulling the trigger, the report said.

In addition to acting in ‘Rust’, Baldwin was also producing films. Prosecutors plan to indict him on both counts, Carmack-Altwis explained, and said that as a producer, Baldwin has a responsibility to ensure the set is safe.

Ultimately, the public prosecutor said, “Just because it was an accident doesn’t mean it wasn’t a crime.”

“Our manslaughter statute covers unintentional killings,” she said. “By unintentional I mean they didn’t mean to. didn’t exercise enough care or vigilance, and that’s what happened here.”

Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said Baldwin was “blind” by the accusation, which he called a “gross miscarriage of justice.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was live ammunition anywhere in the gun or on the movie set. They gave me,” Nikas said.

The executive director of the entertainment union SAG-AFTRA said the expected charges against Baldwin were “false and uninformed.”

Duncan Crabtree Ireland told CNN’s Laura Coates, “The indictment clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the standards and expectations of how movie sets work.” is not a firearms expert, the actors are not expected to perform final safety checks or anything like that.”

Gutierrez Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, said: “We expected charges to be filed, but we were completely wrong about Hannah. She was acquitted by the jury and was not guilty of manslaughter. I hope not,” he said.

In a statement Thursday, Hutchins’ family backed the charges and said they “desired that the justice system works to protect the public and hold those who break the law accountable.”

“It is comforting to the family that no one is under the rule of law in New Mexico,” the statement said.

This image released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office shows the outside of the building on the set where Heila Hutchins was filmed.

so Interview with CNN In August, Baldwin put the blame on Gutierrez Reid and assistant director Dave Halls, handing him the gun.

However, Halls and Gutierrez Reid have repeatedly said they were not at fault and accused Baldwin of trying to remove responsibility for the accident.

Gutierrez Reed claimed he didn’t know there was live ammunition on the set, sued suppliers of movie guns and ammunition and its founders deny any wrongdoing. She claims live ammunition was mixed in with the simulated ammunition she purchased from the company.

Halls has signed a plea bargain on charges of negligent use of a lethal weapon that will get him sentenced to six months of probation and a suspended sentence, Carmack Altweis’ office said.

The Hutchins family filed wrongful death lawsuits against Baldwin and others involved in the making of the film, reached an undisclosed settlement In a suit in October.

As part of the settlement agreement, Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, was to serve as an executive producer on “Rust” when filming resumed.

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