Alec Baldwin will face criminal charges by New Mexico prosecutors for the fatal 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rest,” authorities said Thursday.
Baldwin, the Emmy-winning star of “30 Rock” and dozens of movies including “The Hunt for Red October,” fired the bullet that killed Hutchins. Baldwin said he “didn’t pull the trigger” in an UKTN interview. An FBI forensic report obtained by UKTN News found that despite Baldwin’s denial, the gun could not have gone off without pulling the trigger.
Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are each charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. One of the charges is for involuntary manslaughter, where prosecutors will have to prove underlying negligence, prosecutors said. This is a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, a more serious charge that requires proof that more than simple negligence was involved in a death, prosecutors said. This charge includes a firearms enhancement, which adds a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be charged under a standard called “alternatively charged.” When the case finally goes to trial, a jury will determine which of the two charges they are guilty of.
“Rust” assistant director David Halls signed a plea deal to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, resulting in a suspended sentence and six months’ probation.
“If any of these three people — Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls — had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would still be alive today. Simple as that,” Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor in the case, said. in a statement Thursday. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set.”
The prosecutors’ decision is “a terrible miscarriage of justice,” said Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney. “Mr. Baldwin 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 assure him that the gun had no live cartridges. We will fight attacks, and we will win.”
Through lawyers, Hutchins’ family members thanked authorities for pursuing the charges.
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
“It’s a comfort to the family that no one in New Mexico is above the law,” said attorney Brian Panish. “We support the allegations, will cooperate fully with this prosecution, and fervently hope that the justice system works to protect the public and hold those who break the law accountable.”
According to documents obtained by the New York Post in September, the district attorney’s office has been waiting since October 2021 to review evidence from an FBI investigation after the accidental shooting occurred. After the office received the evidence, the prosecutor announced her intention to press charges and requested $635,500 in emergency funding to hire a specialized team, including a new prosecutor, investigator and spokesperson, to handle the case. The DA received about half of the funds requested.
Hutchins was shot and killed on October 21, 2021, during a scene where Baldwin used a gun filled with live bullet rounds instead of dummies, in violation of Hollywood movie standards. Joel Souza, the film’s director, was injured by the bullet, but later recovered.
Hall, the film’s assistant director, admitted less than a week after the shooting that he failed to properly check the gun for safety before handing it over to the film’s gunsmith, Gutierrez Reed, who gave it to Baldwin before the scene. would pass on.
Hutchins’ death amplified a wave of rallying cry for safer movie protocols on movie sets. Her family eventually sued Baldwin and the film producers in February 2022 for wrongful death. The lawsuit was settled in October and filming on the movie resumed with Matt Hutchins, Halyna’s widower, serving as executive producer.
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