Actor and producer Alec Baldwin is to be charged alongside another crew member over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust in 2021. The actor, who has largely kept out of the public eye since the incident was due to star and produce the western film which has since been put on hold.
Has Alec Baldwin been charged over Rust shooting?
Charges will be pressed against actor Alec Baldwin following the 2021 Rust movie shooting, which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the New Mexico District Attorney’s office has said.
Both Baldwin and the film’s armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the death of Hutchins on the film’s Santa Fe County set.
Assistant director David Halls has signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, the DA’s office said. No charges will be filed specific to the non-fatal shooting of Rust director Joel Souza.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwie said: “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. On my watch, no-one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
A jury will decide if Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are guilty, and what type of involuntary manslaughter should apply.
At the base level, both of the charges are fourth-degree felonies, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. But if Baldwin and/or Gutierrez-Reed are found guilty of the most serious charges that carry a firearm enhancement, they stand to face five years in prison.
Could Alec Baldwin go to prison?
Baldwin faces charges which are fourth-degree felonies, meaning that they carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. However, if he or Gutierrez-Reed are found guilty of the most serious charges - involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act -which carries a firearm enhancement, they could face even harsher punishments.
Under those circumstances, the pair could face up to five years in prison. The charges are expected to be formally filed by the end of January - it is not yet known when the case will reach court.
How did Halyna Hutchins die?
Hutchins was a cinematographer who had worked on films including Archenemy, The Mad Hatter, and Sunday’s Child. She died on 21 October 2021, during production of the western film Rust, when Baldwin discharged a gun, a Pietta .45 Colt revolver.
The gun was not supposed to be loaded and was intended for use as a prop. Hutchins, who was working as director of photography, was fatally wounded by the discharge and died later that day - she was 42 years old. Film director Joel Souza was injured during the incident.
Production on the film was halted following the incident and is yet to resume, more than 15 months later. It was reported at the time that several crew members had walked off the set days before the shooting.
Some crew members had been frustrated over conditions including long hours and long commutes. According to Los Angeles Times, sources alleged that certain safety protocols standards including gun inspections, were not strictly followed on set.
They also claimed that at least one of the camera operators had complained to a production manager about gun safety on the set.
Hutchins’ family filed a lawsuit against Baldwin and other crew members alleging that her wrongful death on the set was caused by irresponsible behaviour and cost-cutting. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum on 5 October 2022.