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Alec Baldwin to be criminally charged with involuntary manslaughter for ‘Rust’ shooting
Gun charge and a jury trial for killing Halyna Hutchins because 'no one is above the law'
Read all my coverage of actor Alec Baldwin’s legal battles since Oct. 2021 in this section.
Alec Baldwin has said for over a year that “inside sources” said he would not face criminal charges for killing a woman on his crew on the “Rust” movie set. He was wrong.
The Santa Fe District Attorney announced Thursday that Baldwin will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The D.A., New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said:
On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.
After the charges are filed, Baldwin will be arraigned, which can be done virtually.
Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas said in a statement, “We will fight these charges, and we will win." The actor will likely be free on bail before the jury trial if he doesn’t take a plea deal.
Carmack-Altwies said one of the counts of involuntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail. The other charge is also a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5000 fine. The jury will decide which charge to use against Baldwin at the trial.
After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew.
Watch my video report on what Baldwin did and denied to get these charges below:
The prosecutor said she will file the charges — as well as two counts for the movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed — by the end of January.
Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement soon:
Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.
These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.
Carmack-Altwies made a plea deal with “Rust” Assistant Director David Halls. He pled guilty to the lesser charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon and received a suspended sentence and six months of probation. The prosecutor told the Santa Fe New Mexican that her deal with Halls requires him to testify against Baldwin and Guitterez-Reed.
As I wrote in September 2022, the D.A. requested extra funding of $635,000 for the prosecution and jury trials of up to four people, including Baldwin.
The Oct. 21, 2021 shooting was during a rehearsal in which Baldwin did a cross-drawl manoeuver with a revolver, pulled back the hammer and had his finger on the trigger, according to the FBI forensics report. Reed tried to get Baldwin to train to do the complex gun maneuver before the scene, according to the sheriff’s investigation, but the actor refused.
Baldwin’s lawyer Nikas said in a statement:
This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. 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, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.
That has been Baldwin’s excuse from the beginning. One of 10 excuses hat I counted over a year ago:
The movie star has said his employees were responsible for making sure that he followed the gun safety rules (keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot, keep the gun aimed at a safe location and always assume the gun is loaded.)
A lawyer connected to the case told me in October that Haylna’s husband Matthew's civil settlement with Baldwin could be “part of a bigger deal” with the prosecutor. (Many have wondered why Matthew Hutchins would agree to be executive producer and finish shooting “Rust” with Baldwin after being so angry at him.)
Now we know justice is blind, and Baldwin is at least being treated exactly like his employees — even though neither of them pointed a loaded gun at a woman and pulled the trigger. A New Mexico jury will determine if the crew and the movie star deserve the same punishment for the crimes.
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