Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has issued a statement through his lawyer after being charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter today.
Each manslaughter count is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin is being charged over the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed of the set of his movie “Rust.”
If prosecutors prove there was more than simple negligence, Baldwin and his co-defendant, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, could face a five-year jail term.
“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 file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement on Thursday.
“On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
The DA issued a statement that said: “Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be ‘charged in the alternative’ with the two counts of manslaughter, meaning that a jury would decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty.
“The first charge can be referred to simply as involuntary manslaughter.
“For this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence.
“Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“This charge also includes the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would likely merge as a matter of law.
“The other charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act.
“This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.
“This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5000 fine.
“This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved.
“The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.”
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said:
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set.
“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.”
But as a producer on the movie, the prosecutors disagree and argue that the entire set was a disaster from a safety standpoint.
“He didn’t do any of the things he was supposed to do to make sure the people around him were safe,” Carmack-Altwies said.
“They didn’t exercise due caution …lack of care on that set.”
“An actor doesn’t get a free pass just because they’re an actor,” she added.
Gutierrez-Reed also denies the charges.
“Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident,” said Gutierrez-Reed lawyer Jason Bowles.
“But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts.
“We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
“Rust” assistant director David Halls signed a plea agreement for a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
“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. It’s that simple,” Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the district attorney, said in a statement on Thursday.
“The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set.”
Attorney Brian J. Panish, on behalf of the Hutchins family, said:
“We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life.
“Our independent investigation also supports that charges are warranted.
“It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law.
“We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”
— Jane (@PlaintanJane) January 19, 2023