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Alec Baldwin, 64 Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

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Alec Baldwin Facing 18 Months in Jail

Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set. Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced charges against Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who supervised weapons on the Western “Rust.”

On October 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins died after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch outside Santa Fe. Baldwin shot Hutchins, killing her and wounding Joel Souza.

The district attorney’s office said assistant director David Halls, who gave Baldwin the gun, pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Baldwin’s arrest was a shocking fall for an A-list actor whose 40-year career included “The Hunt for Red October,” “30 Rock,” “The Departed,” and a film adaptation of David Mamet’s “Glengary Glen Ross.” He impersonated former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” in recent years.

Baldwin’s role as a producer and gunman influenced the district attorney’s decision to charge.

“This set was really being run pretty fast and loose, and he knew or he should have known that there had been misfires, that there were safety concerns, that multiple people had brought them up,” Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press in an interview. Baldwin was “the actor that held the gun, that pointed the gun and that pulled the trigger,” which helped.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a defendant negligently commits a lawful but dangerous act.

New Mexico law punishes fourth-degree felonies with up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Because of the gun, the charge carries a mandatory five-year sentence.

Manslaughter charges for Alec Baldwin

The district attorney said Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be summoned to court by the end of January and charged. She said prosecutors will use a judge instead of a grand jury to determine probable cause for trial.

A special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, cited a “pattern of criminal disregard for safety” on set.

Halyna Hutchins would be alive if Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, or David Halls had done their jobs. Reeb said, “That simple.”

Baldwin’s attorney called the charges “a terrible miscarriage of justice.”

The actor “had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set”. His colleagues assured him the gun had no live rounds. Luke Nikas stated, “We will win these charges.”

The district attorney said Gutierrez-Reed could stop rehearsals if safety standards weren’t met as the film’s armorer.

Carmack-Altwies said she loaded the gun and “absolutely should have noticed” the difference between live and dummy rounds.

Gutierrez-attorney Reed’s called the charges “very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts.”

Jason Bowles said, “We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.

After charges are filed, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Santa Reed’s Fe court appearance was unclear. Many initial court proceedings can be attended remotely by defendants or waived.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who investigated Hutchins’ death, described “a degree of neglect” on the film set. After a yearlong investigation, he left criminal charges to prosecutors. That report did not explain how live ammunition got on the film set.

Baldwin called the killing a “tragic accident.”

He sued the loaded gun handlers and suppliers to clear his name. Baldwin, who co-produced “Rust,” was told the gun was safe.

Baldwin claimed in his lawsuit that he pointed the gun at Hutchins while working on camera angles and pulled back and released the hammer, which discharged.

After an autopsy and law enforcement reports, New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the shooting an accident.

Rust Movie Productions was fined the maximum by New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for safety violations, including production managers’ failure to address two blank ammunition misfires before the shoot.

Production managers allegedly violated gun safety protocols. Rust Movie Productions disputes the $137,000 fine.

500 rounds of blanks, dummies, and what appeared to be live rounds were found on the movie set. Industry experts advise against live rounds.

The Hutchins family—widower Matthew and son Andros—settled a lawsuit against producers to restart filming with Matthew as executive producer.

Relatives thanked authorities for charging them, according to their attorney. “It comforts the family that in New Mexico, no one is above the law,” they said.

The Screen Actors Guild said experts “directly responsible” for safety give actors guns.

“The prosecutor’s claim that an actor must ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is wrong and uninformed. “Actors are not firearms or weapons experts,” the union said.

Baldwin “was handed a loaded gun” by the district attorney. Whether loaded with dummies or live ammunition, it is on him.”

Filmset deaths rarely result in criminal charges.

In the 1993 death of Brandon Lee while filming “The Crow,” a North Carolina district attorney cited negligence but declined to charge. A.44-caliber slug from a blank-firing gun hit Bruce Lee’s son.

Recently, film director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in the 2014 death of assistant camera operator Sarah Jones, who was hit by a train while filming “Midnight Rider” in rural Georgia. Miller received a half-year sentence for filming on train tracks without permission.

Other filmmakers used computer-generated gunfire instead of blank ammunition after the shooting.

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