Alec Baldwin has vowed to fight two counts of involuntary manslaughter resulting from a fatal shooting at the scene, in a case his attorney called a “terrible miscarriage of justice.”
PhotographerHalyna Hutchins42, after prop gun hero dies BaldwinNow 64, was released in October 2021 during rehearsals for the western “Rusty.”
Hutchins’ family welcomed the allegations, saying Baldwin displayed “a conscious disregard for human life.”
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armourer who was in charge of the weapons on set, was also charged with two counts of manslaughter.
Assistant director David Halls has signed a plea deal accusing him of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said the allegations “misrepresent the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and represent a horrific miscarriage of justice.”
“Mr. Baldwin has no reason to believe that there was a live ammunition in the gun or anywhere in the movie scene,” Mr. Nikas said.
“He relied on the professionals who worked with him and they assured him that the gun had no live ammunition.”
“We will fight these allegations and we will win,” he added.
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An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed said she “is and has always been very emotional and saddened by this tragic accident. She was not guilty of manslaughter.
“These allegations are the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full truth.
“We intend to uncover the full truth and are confident that the jury will acquit Hannah of wrongdoing.”
Hutchins’ family said they wanted the justice system to “hold accountable those who violated the law.”
In a statement issued on their behalf, Attorney Brian J Panish said: “We would like to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and District Attorney for completing a thorough investigation and determining that manslaughter charges were filed against those who willfully ignored the killing of Halyna Hutchins. For the sake of humanity life.
“Our independent investigation also backs up the allegations as warranted. In New Mexico, no one is above the law, which is a comfort to the family.
“We support these allegations, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope that the justice system will protect the public and hold those who violated the law to account.”
“A pattern of crime with no regard for safety”
Prosecutors have been awarded $317,750 (£282,900) in extra funding to investigate the high-profile case.
The charging decision comes three months after prosecutors received the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office’s final report on the shooting, and after a lengthy investigation that also involved the FBI.
Special Prosecutor Andrea Ribb said: “If any of those three people — Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls — complete their work, Halina Hutchins would be alive today. Simple as that.”
“The evidence clearly shows that there is a criminal pattern of disregard for safety on Rust movie sets. There is no movie set in New Mexico that does not take the state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously,” Ms. Reeb said.
“No one is above the law and everyone deserves justice,” Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altevis said in announcing the charges.
first sign of criminal reckoning
The charges, which were announced more than a year after Halyna Hutchins’ death, represent a step toward accountability for her family and friends.
I’ve spoken to several people who worked on the set who complained at the time, with one describing it as a “complete disregard” for the welfare and safety of the cast and crew.
With the blame and counter-blame game over, there have been some civil suits and counterclaims. But it was the first sign of any criminal reckoning.
Baldwin & Rust Productions reach a civil settlement She and Hutchins’ family paid an undisclosed amount in October after her husband, Matthew, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit and announced that production on the film would resume this year.
A number of other lawsuits have also been filed over the shooting.
What’s happening now?
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “alternately charged” with two counts of manslaughter, meaning the jury will have to decide not only whether they are guilty, but also whether they are guilty.
Prosecutors said the first charge could simply be called manslaughter, and for that to be proven there would have to be underlying negligence.
Manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony under New Mexico law and carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine (£4,040). The charge also includes a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm.
The other charge is manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that more than simple negligence was involved.
It’s also a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Prosecutors said the charge included an additional penalty — because firearms were involved — that made the offense a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
Ms Carmack-Altwies and Ms Reeb have until the end of January to formally file charges.
Prosecutors said no charges would be filed for Souza’s injuries.
They confirmed details of Hall’s plea agreement, saying the terms included probation and six months of probation.