American actor Alec Baldwin, author of a deadly shooting on the set of the 2021 film Rust, faces manslaughter charges and faces up to five years in prison if convicted of serious negligence, a prosecutor said Thursday.
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The film’s shooter, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who handled the gun, faces the same charges, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement.
On October 21, 2021, that New Mexico ranch shooting had turned tragic when Mr. Baldwin activated a gun that was supposed to contain only blanks, but whose very real projectile killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel souza
This rare news had shocked Hollywood and had a powerful impact, sparking calls for firearms to be banned on the sets.
“After carefully reviewing the evidence and the laws of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the +Rust+ film crew,” said Mary Carmack-Altwies.
“Under my supervision, no one is above the law and everyone deserves justice,” she added.
The indictment will be formally filed “by the end of the month,” prosecutors said.
- Listen to the interview with Jean Frenette, stunt coordinator and action sequence director, on Sophie Durocher’s show, broadcast live daily at 2:35 p.m. via QUB radio :
Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed face up to 18 months in prison if convicted of manslaughter. In the case of gross negligence, however, this penalty could be increased to up to five years imprisonment.
The actor’s attorney, Luke Nikas, immediately denounced a “horrific miscarriage of justice.”
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was live ammunition in the gun or anywhere else at the range.
Alec Baldwin, 64, best known for the ’30 Rock’ series, has always said he was assured his gun was harmless.
Executive assistant David Halls, who gave him the gun and told him it was harmless, pleaded guilty to negligence in using a deadly weapon.
Mr Baldwin also claimed he did not pull the trigger, a claim that has been questioned by experts.
“If any of those three people – Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls – had done his job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s as simple as that,” prosecutor Andrea Reeb said.
The evidence shows “a criminal disregard for safety on the set of ‘Rust,'” she said in the statement.
Then, on CNN, she hit out at the amateurishness of the production and the ease of Mr. Baldwin on set.
The actor “didn’t do anything he was supposed to do to make sure he was safe or that anyone around him was safe,” the prosecutor said. “Then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and pulled the trigger.”
In particular, the police investigation focused on finding out how live ammunition could be found on the theoretically strictly forbidden set, precisely to avoid accidents.
Officials concluded that shooting gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had put the ammunition in the gun used by Alec Baldwin instead of a dummy bullet.
For their part, the gunsmith’s lawyers denounced “a sloppy investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the facts” by the prosecutor. “We intend to get the truth out and believe that Hannah will be acquitted of wrongdoing by a jury.”
In August, the actor said he didn’t expect anyone to be charged and told CNN he had hired a private investigator to establish accountability in the case.
The tragedy led to a series of civil lawsuits from several team members.
In October, Alec Baldwin announced that he had reached a settlement ending the civil lawsuits brought by Ms Hutchins’ family.
Her height was not disclosed.
At that time, it was also announced that filming on “Rust” would resume in early 2023. The late director of photography’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, is set to be promoted to executive producer on the film.