Actor Alec Baldwin will make his first court appearance in New Mexico for his involvement in the on-set shooting death of Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin and a weapons specialist, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were formally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 31. The assistant director, David Halls, was also charged with one count of the negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Halls has signed a plea agreement and will receive a suspended sentence and six months probation.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will appear before Santa Fe-based District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer via video on Feb. 24 at 10:15 Am, reports KRQE.
Hutchins died on the set of the western movie Rust on Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin, who was also a producer on the movie, pointed a pistol at the cinematographer as part of the production process. Although Halls allegedly informed the actor otherwise, the pistol was loaded and, after being fired, hit Hutchins and the film’s director, Joel Souza. Both were transported to nearby hospitals where Hutchins ultimately died of her injuries.
No charges have been filed in connection to Souza’s injuries, per The Hollywood Reporter.
“In newly filed court documents, prosecutors said reckless safety failures accompanied the film production from the outset,” reports AP News. “They cite Baldwin’s failure as an actor to appear for mandatory firearms training prior to filming and his decision as a producer to work with Gutierrez-Reed, who was an uncertified and inexperienced armorer.”
Five live rounds of ammunition were found mixed with dummy rounds during an investigation of the set after the shooting.
“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,” said Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies in a statement. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were charged “in the alternative.” Accordingly, if they are found guilty, a jury will determine which of two definitions of involuntary manslaughter applies — whether fourth-degree felony involuntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. In the latter charge, the state must prove that “there was more than simple negligence involved in a death,” per Forbes.
Either crime is punishable with up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, has called the decision to charge the actor “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,” Nikas said in a statement. “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.”