Alec Baldwin Responds to Movie-Set Charges

Actor's attorney slams 'terrible miscarriage of justice'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2023 2:23 PM CST
A Look at the Charges Against Alec Baldwin
In this image from video released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, Alec Baldwin stands in costume and speaks with investigators following the fatal shooting on the set of 'Rust.'   (Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

Alec Baldwin is now facing the possibility of prison over the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a movie set in 2021. The district attorney who serves Sante Fe County in New Mexico said Thursday that Baldwin will be charged before the end of the month with involuntary manslaughter, along with Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the staffer in charge of weapons for the movie Rust. Coverage:

  • The charges: In New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is defined as killing someone “in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection." The New York Times translates: It's "killing another person unlawfully but unintentionally."
  • Penalty: The fourth-degree felony is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $5,000 in New Mexico. However, the Hollywood Reporter notes that the juries for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would have the option of finding them guilty under a gun provision that could result in a 5-year sentence.

  • Baldwin responds: Baldwin's attorney called the development "a terrible miscarriage of justice," per the AP. Baldwin "had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun—or anywhere on the movie set," said Luke Nikas. (Prosecutors say he should have checked himself, which they say is standard procedure.) "He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win."
  • The armorer: The attorney for armorer Gutierrez-Reed sounded a similar note in calling the pending charges “the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts.” Jason Bowles added that "we intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."
  • Avoiding jail: Assistant director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon. In exchange, he received six months' probation and a suspended sentence, per the Washington Post.
  • Damning statement: “If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today," said special prosecutor Andrea Reeb. “It's that simple. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the Rust film set."
  • Blame game: A blizzard of lawsuits is still in play, with Baldwin and others accusing each other of being the responsible party. For a primer of what transpired on the set and subsequent developments, see USA Today. (Baldwin has insisted he never pulled the trigger, but there's some doubt about that.)

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