Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin has been formally charged in New Mexico with manslaughter for shooting and killing a photographer on the set of the western “Rusty.”
Baldwin Vowing to fight the charges against him, his lawyer called the case a “terrible miscarriage of justice”.
Harina Hutchins42, The 64-year-old star died after a prop gun he was holding during rehearsals for the film in October 2021 went off.
The charge – which carries a five-year prison sentence – will require prosecutors to convince jurors that Baldwin was not only negligent but reckless in his use of the firearm.
But if Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed knew there was live ammunition but took no precautions, it would be difficult for prosecutors to win a conviction, legal experts said.
Her family welcomed the charges when they were announced in early January, saying Baldwin showed “a willful disregard for human life.”
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of the weapon on Rust’s set, has also been charged with manslaughter, while assistant director Dave Halls has signed a plea deal charged with negligent use of deadly weapon.
The industry-wide gun safety guidelines instruct participants to assume the firearms are empty and to rely on professional weapons handlers to keep the weapons safe.
The actor was told to only point the weapon at one person under the direction of a firearms professional. The use of live ammunition is strictly prohibited on site.
Gutierrez-Reed said she checked the cartridges loaded in the revolver to be fake before handing them over to Holes.
Halls handed it to Baldwin, telling him it was a “cold gun” or unloaded, according to police.
read more: Criminal reckoning awaits Alec Baldwin — but he’s still defiant, even bullish
The charging decision comes about 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.
The sheriff’s office investigation has yet to reveal how live ammunition entered the set.
Special Prosecutor Andrea Ribb said at the time: “If any of those three — Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reid or David Halls — had done Their work, Halina Hutchins would be alive today. Simple as that.
“The evidence clearly shows that there is a criminal disregard for safety on the Rust movie set. There is no movie set in New Mexico that does not take the state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis added: “No one is above the law and everyone deserves justice.”
A spokesman for her office added: “The evidence and the facts speak for themselves.”
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Gutierrez-Reed testified to the New Mexico Workers Safety Agency on Dec. 7 that the shooting could have been avoided if she had had more time to train Baldwin. She said he was “out of shape” while using the revolver.
But the film’s producer, Gabrielle Pickle, told the agency that Gutierrez-Reed got all the days she was asked to perform her duties.
Baldwin & Rust Productions reach a civil settlement An undisclosed sum was reached with Hutchins’ family in October and it was announced that production on the film would resume this year.Lawyers for the film after criminal charges were released It is confirmed that Baldwin will continue to play the leading role in the film.
Hutchins’ husband Matt will also stay on as executive producer, while Joel Souza, who was injured in the shooting, will return as director.
Several other lawsuits have been filed over the shooting.
Hutchins died on the set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, while Baldwin was rehearsing with a revolver, firing live ammunition.
Baldwin has denied responsibility for the shooting — saying live ammunition should not have been allowed on set and that weapons handlers are responsible for gun safety.
An investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has yet to shed light on how the live broadcast made its way onto the film set in the first place.