Oscar-nominated actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the western film «Rust,» prosecutors said Thursday.
Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith who was in charge of weapons on set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will each face two counts of manslaughter, according to New Mexico 1st Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
The first assistant director, David Halls, «has signed a plea agreement on the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon,» which will likely lead to six months of probation, prosecutors said. He also agreed to testify for the state, authorities said.
“This decision misrepresents the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” according to a statement from Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas.
«Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun, or in any part of the film set. He relied on the professionals he worked with, who assured him that the gun had no live bullets. We will fight against these charges, and we will win.”
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A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed also vowed to prove that his client is not guilty.
“Hannah is, and always has been, very emotional and saddened by this tragic accident. But she did not commit manslaughter,” Jason Bowles said in a statement.
«These charges are the result of a seriously flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of all the facts. We intend to expose the full truth and believe that a jury will clear Hannah of wrongdoing.»
The penalty could be up to 5 years behind bars.
Manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is typically punishable by up to 18 months behind bars and a $5,000 fine, prosecutors said. But an enhancement of the use of firearms in charges could make the offense punishable by a mandatory five-year jail sentence, prosecutors said.
«After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the State of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,» Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. declaration.
«On my watch, no one is above the law and everyone deserves justice.»
Hutchins was fatally shot nearly 15 months ago during filming of «Rust» at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico on October 21, 2021. Baldwin was rehearsing a pistol for a scene set inside a church when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding the director, Joel Souza.
No charges will be filed in connection with Souza’s injuries, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor: A ‘disregard for safety’ led to tragedy
“If any of these three people, Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls, had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,» special counsel Andrea Reeb said in a statement.
“The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for security on the ‘Rust’ set. In New Mexico, there is no place for film sets that do not take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.»
Hutchins, 42, is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their son, Aldous, who was 9 years old at the time.
The family said they support the prosecutors’ decision to file criminal charges.
“We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and District Attorney for completing their thorough investigation and determining that manslaughter charges are justified for the murder of Halyna Hutchins with knowing disregard for human life,” according to a statement from attorney Brian Panish. who represents the family.
«Our independent investigation also supports that the charges are justified. It is a comfort to the family to know that in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope that the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”
Charges will be formally filed at the end of the month, likely leading to a preliminary hearing within 60 days, Carmack-Altwies said.
That’s when a judge will rule whether prosecutors have presented enough evidence to proceed with a trial, according to the prosecutor.
«There is a very clear process for seeking justice in this case,» Carmack-Altwies said. “We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”
The announcement about the charges came three months after the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office presented the results of the investigation to prosecutors.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adán Mendoza told ABC’s «Good Morning America» in April that he believed there was a «degree of abandonment» on the set of «Rust.» But he left decisions on criminal charges to the district attorney’s office.
In early October, Hutchins’ husband settled his wrongful-death lawsuit against the producers of «Rust,» including Baldwin.
Matthew Hutchins said in a statement that filming would resume in January and that he would join the project as an executive producer as part of the deal.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has had a specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” Baldwin said in an instagram post after the deal was announced. «We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.»
Baldwin maintains that he is not responsible for the death
The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting to be an accident based on autopsy results and a review of police documents, according to The Associated Press.
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in December 2021, Baldwin gave his first public account of the fatal shooting, stating that he did not pull the trigger. He strongly insisted that it was not his fault and said that he did not feel guilty about the incident.
“I feel like someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who it is,” he said. «But I know it’s not me.»
Baldwin added that if he could, he would «do everything possible to undo what happened.»
«Rust,» set in 1880s Kansas, stars Baldwin as a grizzled outlaw who goes on the run with his grandson after the boy accidentally kills a local rancher, according to a report. Plot Synopsis on the internet movie database.
Souza is expected to return as director when filming resumes this month. He previously directed the under-the-radar indie crime dramas «Crown Vic» and «Break Night.»
Baldwin is a prolific actor known for playing executive Jack Donaghy on the NBC sitcom «30 Rock,» impersonating former President Donald Trump on «Saturday Night Live,» and appearing in movies like «Beetlejuice» and «Glengarry Glen Ross.»
He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for «The Cooler,» released in 2003.