New Mexico prosecutors on Tuesday charged Alec Baldwin with manslaughter, accusing the actor of skipping “required firearms training” and creating “a climate of recklessness” on the set of “Rust.”
Baldwin and “Rust” gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have been charged with manslaughter in connection with their alleged role in the 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced.
“Rust” deputy director David Halls has also been charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon and has already agreed to plead no contest, according to Carmack-Altwies.
Baldwin allegedly ‘was not present’ at weapons training
Prosecutors have evidence showing that Baldwin “was not present for required firearms training prior to the start of filming,” special investigator Robert Shilling wrote in a probable cause statement.
And when another on-set training session was scheduled, the scheduled hour-long seminar only lasted 30 minutes because Baldwin was “distracted and talking on his cell phone with his family during training,” prosecutors said, citing a statement from Gutierrez. -Reed. .
Shilling also alleged that the scene taking place in front of Hutchins did not require any shots to be fired.
Deadly rehearsal required no shots
And as the film’s producer, Baldwin failed to conduct enough safety briefings, Shilling wrote, “resulting in a climate of recklessness as evidenced by the conduct of the cast and crew documented through statements and evidence.”
“In reviewing the script and witness interviews, for this particular scene and close-up, the evidence indicates that the scene/shot did not require the gun to be fired,” Shilling wrote.
Hutchins, 42, was killed on Oct. 21, 2021 while filming “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe County. New Mexico. Baldwin was rehearsing a gun for a scene when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
“It is also determined through consultation with expert gunsmiths that in a trial, a plastic pistol or a replica pistol should be used, since firing blanks is not required,” according to the probable cause statement.
“However, (Baldwin) fired the .45 single action colt long revolver which resulted in the discharge of a projectile which struck and traveled through Halyna Hutchins’ right armpit, exited her back…then struck Joel Souza in the right shoulder and lodged in his right back.”
Baldwin, a movie veteran, TVs with guns
Prosecutors also said they are looking to use Baldwin’s own resume against him, claiming he’s been around guns long enough to know better.
The actor “has publicly stated that he is an ‘…expert…’ in the realm of firearms and film,” according to Shilling, who wrote that Baldwin has been a part of at least 40 movies or television shows. They have used firearms.
“On the day of the shooting alone, the evidence shows that no less than a dozen reckless acts or omissions occurred in the short time before lunch and the hour of the shooting, and this does not include reckless handling of the firearm by.” Baldwin, Shilling wrote.
Tuesday’s charges now start the court clock, as Baldwin will make his initial court appearances within the next 15 days, prosecutors previously said.
Baldwin can appear at these early court appearances remotely, authorities said.
The case is expected to go through a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will have to show the judge that they have enough evidence to warrant a trial. That procedure could happen in late April or early May, prosecutors said.
A trial could take place by the end of the year, depending on the schedules of the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Baldwin has refused to take any responsibility for Hutchins’ death.
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in December 2021, Baldwin went so far as to say that he did not fire that fatal round.
“I feel like someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who it is. But I know it’s not me,” the actor told ABC News at the time.
Prosecutor says FBI evidence shows Baldwin fired a gun
Prosecutors have rejected Baldwin’s claim and said they have an FBI lab report to show conclusively that the actor pulled the trigger.
But Baldwin allegedly told responding sheriff’s deputies that he had “fired” the gun that killed Hutchins, according to Shilling.
The FBI tested the gun that killed Hutchins by hitting it with a hammer at multiple angles to see if it could fire without pulling the trigger.
“The revolver did not malfunction,” according to Shilling. “This analysis clearly showed that the gun could not ‘accidentally fire’; for the gun to fire, the trigger had to have been pulled.”
A representative for Baldwin declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.
Armorer says he pushed for more security
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, insisted his client should not be charged because she did everything she could to improve safety standards on the “Rust” set.
“Hannah pleaded to provide more firearms training,” Bowles said in a statement. “She was denied and stepped aside. Hannah asked to be able to perform more of her gunsmithing duties for safety reasons. The production told her to focus on the props.”
Bowles said Gutierrez-Reed shouldn’t be facing a felony when Halls could be looking for just six months of probation.
“Hannah asked Halls if we could get a plastic gun for the rehearsal scene and he said no, he wanted a ‘real gun,'” according to Bowles.