Alec Baldwin has been formally charged in ‘Rust’ shooting
By Josh Campbell, CNN
(CNN) -- Actor and producer Alec Baldwin has been criminally charged in connection with the 2021 fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust," the Santa Fe County, New Mexico, district attorney's office told CNN Tuesday.
The charges against Baldwin and the set's armorer, Hannah Guiterrez Reed, include two counts of involuntary manslaughter, the DA's office said. Attorneys for both defendants previously insisted their respective clients are innocent.
"Negligent use of a deadly weapon charges were also filed against 'Rust' assistant director David Halls, who has pleaded no contest and has entered into a plea agreement that is pending approval," according to a media statement issued by the DA's office.
"Today we have taken another important step in securing justice for Halyna Hutchins," District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday. "In New Mexico, no one is above the law and justice will be served."
Carmack-Altwies told CNN earlier this month she would charge Baldwin and the film's armorer with involuntary manslaughter, accusing them of failing to perform safety procedures that could have prevented the accident that resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Hutchins was struck and killed by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun being held by Baldwin, who maintains he did not pull the gun's trigger.
Director Joel Souza was also shot and injured.
Baldwin did not take firearm training on the "Rust" movie set seriously, prosecutors said in probable cause documents outlining evidence in the case.
"A training session for at least an hour or more in length was scheduled, but the actual training consisted of only approximately 30 minutes as according to (armorer Hannah Gutierrez) Reed, Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training," the document states.
Gutierrez Reed is also charged with involuntary manslaughter, with prosecutors stating she did not insist on Baldwin's safety training, did not check each round loaded into the firearms, and did not follow appropriate safety protocols in storing ammunition.
"Gutierrez Reed was reckless in her responsibility to ensure set safety with the firearm. She failed to correct Baldwin from committing the dangerous and reckless safety violations by pointing the weapon at/towards people and by having his finger on the trigger," according to the probable cause statement against Gutierrez Reed.
"The photos and videos clearly show Baldwin, multiple times, with his finger inside
of the trigger guard and on the trigger, while manipulating the hammer and while drawing, pointing, and holstering the revolver," prosecutors said.
Repeated FBI testing on the weapon determined it could not fire without the trigger being pressed. In interviews with CNN and ABC Baldwin has claimed he did not pull the trigger.
CNN has reached out to representatives for both Baldwin and Gutierrrez Reed.
Baldwin has maintained he was not aware the gun he fired during a rehearsal contained a live round. In a statement to CNN on Jan. 19, his attorney called the prosecutors' decision "a terrible miscarriage of justice."
"This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents 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," Baldwin's attorney Luke Nikas said in his statement.
"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."
An attorney for Gutierrez Reed said he believes jurors will find his client not guilty.
"We were expecting the charges but they're absolutely wrong as to Hannah -- we expect that she will be found not guilty by a jury and she did not commit manslaughter," attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement to CNN earlier this month when the indictment was first released.
"She has been emotional about the tragedy but has committed no crime."
Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter so that a jury can decide which specific count may be more appropriate, Carmack-Altwies previously told CNN.
If convicted, "they will only be sentenced to one count," the prosecutor said.
In either case, a conviction is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, prosecutors said.
But one count would involve a firearm enhancement, or an added penalty, because a firearm was involved. In that case, the crime could be punishable by up to five years in jail, prosecutors said.
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