Alec Baldwin charged in fatal shooting of cinematographer on New Mexico movie set


New Mexico
This aerial photo shows the movie set of ‘Rust’ at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

According to court records presented by prosecutors on Tuesday, actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of a cameraman on a film set in New Mexico.

Mary Carmack-Altwies, the district attorney of Santa Fe, filed the indictment against Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who supervised firearms on the "Rust" film set.

The lawsuit comes nearly two weeks after she initially stated that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would be charged for what officials have termed a habit of criminal disregard for safety. Carmack-Altwies has, in recent weeks, described two sets of involuntary manslaughter accusations about the killing.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have declared their innocence and vowed to fight the charges.

Luke Nikas, Baldwin's attorney, declined to comment Tuesday and referred to his prior statement on the issue. He called the allegations a "terrible miscarriage of justice" that he and his client would fight and win.

According to the statement, Mr Baldwin had no reason to assume there was a live bullet in the gun or anywhere else on the film set. He relied on the specialists he collaborated with.

The attorney for Gutierrez-Reed stated a comment would be issued later.

On October 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins died immediately after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Baldwin aimed a pistol at Hutchins when it discharged, fatally shooting her and injuring the director, Joel Souza.

According to prosecutors, the decision to press charges against Baldwin was influenced by his role as a producer and as the shooter.

Baldwin is charged with manslaughter, with alternate standards and punishments. A person might be charged with manslaughter if he or she disregarded the safety of others "without reasonable care and circumspection."

Already, the murder of Hutchins has prompted the film industry to adopt new safety measures.

Carmack-Altwies stated in an interview with The Associated Press on January 19 that the set was "really being run pretty loosely" and that Baldwin should have been aware that there had been past misfires on set and that many people had raised safety concerns.

She also explained that Baldwin was the one who aimed the gun and pulled the trigger.

The court summons for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be issued. Instead of a grand jury, prosecutors will rely on a judge to assess if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. A determination may take up to sixty days.

A defendant can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if they commit a homicide while engaging in a legitimate but risky activity while acting negligently or recklessly. Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb identified a "criminal disregard for safety" pattern on the "Rust" set.

Prosecutors will also announce the contents of a signed plea agreement with assistant director David Halls, who monitored safety on set. The participants disputed who handed Baldwin the gun during the unrecorded rehearsal.

Halls has consented to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, they added.

Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said in a Monday statement that prosecutors are "fully committed to securing justice for Halyna Hutchins" and that "the evidence and the facts speak for themselves."

Baldwin, co-producer of "Rust," has described the murder as a tragic accident. The 64-year-old actor claims he was informed the weapon was safe and has sued those involved in handling and supplying the loaded.45-calibre revolver in an attempt to cleanse his name.

Baldwin alleged that while working with Hutchins on camera angles, he pointed the gun in her direction, drew back, and released the weapon's hammer, causing it to fire.

Jason Bowles, who represents Gutierrez-Reed, stated that the allegations result from a "faulty investigation" and an "inaccurate understanding of the complete facts."

Defendants can participate remotely in several initial court procedures or request their initial court appearance waived.

The decision to charge Baldwin is a stunning turn of events for 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," in addition to iconic appearances in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" and a film adaptation of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross." Baldwin's imitation of former U.S. President Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live" has earned him widespread recognition in recent years.

Publish : 2023-02-01 11:27:00

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