SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors linked Alec Baldwin to an extensive list of alleged firearms safety failures as they filed a felony involuntary manslaughter charge Tuesday against the actor in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set. filed.
Halina Hutchins died shortly after being injured during a rehearsal on October 21, 2021, at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing him and wounding director Joel Souza.
Baldwin and film-set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reid are facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Hutchins on the set of the Western film “Rust.”
Manslaughter can be charged for a murder that occurs when a defendant is doing something lawful but dangerous and is acting recklessly or without care.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid maintain their innocence and have vowed to fight the charges.
In recently filed court documents, prosecutors say the film production was riddled with negligent security failures from the start. They cite Baldwin’s failure as an actor to appear for mandatory firearms training prior to filming and his decision to work with Gutierrez-Reid as a producer, who was an unproven and inexperienced armourer.
A probable cause statement by investigators traces safety failures over a 10-day period from misfires on set and a camera crew walkout before Hutchins’ death because the revolver was loaded with ammunition and Baldwin’s finger was on the pistol’s trigger. Had come
“Baldwin’s deviation from known standards, practices and protocols directly led to the fatal death of Hutchins,” Robert Schilling, a special investigator for the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office, said in a probable cause statement.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nicks, declined to comment Tuesday and cited a previous statement in which he called the allegations a “terrible miscarriage of justice” that he and his client would fight and win.
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe that there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the set of the film,” the statement said. “He depended on the professionals he worked with.”
Gutierrez-Reid’s attorney said they would release a statement later.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweiss told the Associated Press in a January 19 interview that the set was “running really fast and loose” and that Baldwin should have known that there had been previous misfires on the set and that several people had tripped security. Had brought concerns. He also highlighted Baldwin as the man “who held the gun, who pointed the gun and who pulled the trigger.”
With the charges filed Tuesday, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid will be issued summonses to appear in court, possibly by remote webcast. Prosecutors would skip a grand jury and rely on a judge to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial. A decision can take up to 60 days.
The murder charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid include two alternative standards and sanctions.
A version would require proof of negligence, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law.
The second option is reckless disregard of safety “without due care and caution.” It carries a higher threshold of misdemeanor and includes a “firearms enhancement” that can result in a mandatory five years in prison if the offense was committed with a firearm.
Prosecutors said the jury could decide which definition of murder to pursue.
Defense attorney Kate Mangels, whose work includes the entertainment sector, said prosecutors presented a strong analysis of Baldwin’s security responsibilities on “Rust” as an actor and producer.
“The fact that they separated Alec Baldwin the actor versus Alec Baldwin the producer shows me that they are potentially foreseeing a challenge to his culpability as either of those roles,” Mangels said. Said, which is located in Santa Monica, California. “So they want to differentiate … and provide a robust analysis of the two of them separately.”
Investigators said that when Baldwin pulled a revolver from the holster, pointed it at Hutchins and when a plastic or replica gun should have been used by industry standards, the reckless safety failures culminated.
Investigators said photographs and video of rehearsals, including moments before the fatal shooting, showed Baldwin “tampering” with the pistol hammer inside the trigger guard and on the trigger, noting that FBI analysis It turns out that the pistol could not be fired without the trigger being pressed.
Baldwin, who described the killing as a tragic accident, said he was told the .45-caliber revolver was in the safe. The 64-year-old actor has sought to clear his name by suing those involved in handling and supplying the loaded gun.
Baldwin stated in his lawsuit that, while working camera angles with Hutchins, he pointed the gun in her direction and pulled back and released the weapon’s hammer, which discharged.
Jason Bowles, the defense attorney representing Gutierrez-Reid, said the allegations are the result of a “flawed investigation” and a “misunderstanding of the full facts”.
The decision to charge Baldwin is a surprising turn of events for an A-list actor whose 40-year career included the early blockbuster “The Hunt for Red October” and a starring role in the sitcom “30 Rock,” as well as the iconic Shows included. A film adaptation of Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” and David Mamet’s “Glangery Glen Ross”. In recent years, Baldwin was best known for his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”
Prosecutors said a proposed plea agreement signed by assistant director David Halles, who oversaw security on the set, has not yet been approved by a judge and cannot be published.
The prosecution said that Hall had agreed to plead guilty to reckless use of a deadly weapon, explaining that he may have improperly handled the gun before it was given to Baldwin.
AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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