Alec Baldwin officially charged in ‘Rust’ filming : NPR
SANTA FE, NM — Actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist have been formally charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set, according to court documents filed Tuesday. by prosecutors.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed the charging documents naming Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who oversaw the weapons on the set of Western “Rust.”
The filing comes nearly two weeks after she first announced that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would be prosecuted for what authorities described as a pattern of criminal disregard for security. In recent weeks, Carmack-Altwies has filed two sets of manslaughter charges in connection with the shooting.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed maintain their innocence and have sworn to fight the charges.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, declined to comment on Tuesday and referred to his previous statement on the case, in which he called the charges a “terrible miscarriage of justice” that he and his client would fight and win.
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on set,” the statement read. “He relied on the professionals he worked with.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney said he would release a statement later.
Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being injured during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin was pointing a gun at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and injuring director, Joel Souza .
Prosecutors said Baldwin’s involvement as a producer and as the person who fired the gun weighed in the decision to press charges.
The manslaughter charge against Baldwin includes alternative standards and penalties. A charge of manslaughter for reckless disregard of security would be applied “without caution or circumspection”.
Hutchins’ death has already led to new safety precautions in the film industry.
Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press in a Jan. 19 interview that the set was “really executed pretty quickly and loosely” and that Baldwin should have known there were some hiccups on set and that several people had raised security issues.
She added that Baldwin was the one who pointed the gun and pulled the trigger.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will receive a subpoena to appear in court. Prosecutors will forego a grand jury and rely on a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. The decision could take up to 60 days.
Manslaughter can involve murder that occurs while a defendant is doing something legal but dangerous and acting negligently or carelessly. Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb cited a pattern of “criminal disregard for security” on the set of “Rust.”
Prosecutors also said they would release the terms of a plea deal signed with assistant director David Halls, who oversaw security on set. Attendees at the unfilmed rehearsal gave conflicting accounts of who handed the gun to Baldwin.
Halls agreed to plead guilty to careless use of a deadly weapon, they said.
Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said in a statement Monday that prosecutors are “fully focused on securing justice for Halyna Hutchins” and “the evidence and facts speak for themselves.” .
Baldwin, also a “Rust” co-producer, described the murder as a tragic accident. The 64-year-old actor said he was told the gun was safe and sought to clear his name by suing those involved in handling and supplying the loaded .45 caliber revolver .
In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while working on camera angles with Hutchins, he pointed the gun in his direction and fired back and released the gun’s hammer, which discharged.
Defense attorney Jason Bowles, who represents Gutierrez-Reed, said the charges were the result of a “flawed investigation” and an “inaccurate understanding of all the facts”.
Defendants can participate in many initial court proceedings remotely or request to be excused from their first appearance.
The decision to indict Baldwin marks a stunning turn of events for a high-profile actor whose 40-year career included the debut blockbuster ‘The Hunt for Red October’ and a starring role on the sitcom ’30 Rock’, as well as iconic appearances in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’ and a film adaptation of David Mamet’s ‘Glengary Glen Ross’. In recent years, Baldwin was known for his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”