Prosecutors plan to charge Hollywood star Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of his movie “Rust.”
Baldwin shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the movie’s New Mexico set in 2021.
The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, is also expected to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to a person close to the investigation.
The film’s first assistant director, David Halls, has agreed to plead guilty to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Santa Fe-area District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies confirmed the charges during a press conference Thursday morning.
Per the DA in Sante Fe: “Rust” actor and producer Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the film’s Santa Fe County set in 2021.
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) January 19, 2023
The charges will be filed by the end of the month.
Baldwin recently sued armorer Hannah Guttierez-Reed, prop master Sarah Zachry, first assistant director and safety coordinator David Halls, and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney and his company PDQ Arm & Prop.
“There can be no doubt that others have suffered from Cross-Defendants’ negligence far more than Baldwin has,” Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, wrote in the suit.
“Though by no means comparable, Baldwin must live with the immense grief, and the resulting emotional, physical, and financial toll, caused by the fact that Cross-Defendants’ negligent conduct, assurances, and supervision put a loaded weapon in his hand and led him, Hutchins, and everyone else on set to believe that his directed use of the weapon was safe,” the suit said.
“More than anyone else on that set, Baldwin has been wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy.
“By these Cross-Claims, Baldwin seeks to clear his name and hold Cross-Defendants accountable for their misconduct.
“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun.”
“Baldwin is the one responsible for this tragedy. He pointed the weapon and pulled the trigger,” Guttierez-Reed’s lawyer said.
Breaking: Prosecutors plan to charge Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter over the shooting of a "Rust" cinematographer, a person familiar with the probe said https://t.co/jkQ0sfisdV
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 19, 2023
According to legal scholar Jonathan Turley:
As a producer, it is likely that Baldwin was negligent to some degree in the shoddy precautions and safety conditions on the set.
In a contributory or modified comparative negligence jurisdiction, he could be barred.
However, even if he were found more at fault than the defendants, Baldwin could still recover damages under California’s pure comparative negligence rule.
The discovery in the case could be interesting given Baldwin’s public statements (while insisting that he could not speak publicly on advice from counsel).
This includes denials of ever pointing a gun at another actor, which could lead to challenges based on various movie scenes.