Prosecutors have revealed Alec Baldwin will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the accidental fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of overseeing the weapons set, will also be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Assistant director of the film David Hall, who handed Baldwin the gun, has signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. This means he’s looking at a suspended sentence and six months probation.
“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,” Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement.
“On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Carmack-Altwies also tore into Baldwin in a CNN interview and said he had a responsibility to check the gun he was using.
“Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they’re going to handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone,” she said.
“An actor does not get a free pass just because they are an actor. That is what is so important. We are saying here in New Mexico, that everyone is equal under the law.”
“There was such a lack of safety and safety standards on that set… There were live rounds on set,” she added.
“[Baldwin] didn’t do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and he pulled the trigger.”
Prosecutor Andrea Reeb said there was a “pattern of criminal disregard for safety” on the film set.
“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,” she said.
Baldwin’s lawyer Luke Nikas called the charges 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,” he said, per Page Six.
Halyna Hutchins died in October 2021 shortly after she was wounded during rehearsals on the set of Rust at a ranch in Santa Fe. Alec Baldwin was pointing a gun at her when it went off and killed her. Director Joel Souza was also injured.
The charges come after Baldwin settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Hutchins’ family in October 2022. Soon after he filed a negligence suit of his own against four crew members, including armourer Gutierrez Reed, for handing him a loaded gun.
“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun,” Nikas said at the time.
An involuntary manslaughter charge means the person accused killed someone while they were doing something legal, but the lawful act that led to the death was still dangerous and more caution could have been exercised.
The maximum sentence of this charge is 18 months in jail, but because in this case a gun was involved, the charges include a provision where the defendant could face a mandatory five years in jail.