Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter for shooting on 'Rust' film set

Alec Baldwin
Posted at 10:22 AM, Jan 19, 2023

Alec Baldwin will be charged this month with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

She was killed on the set of "Rust," which was being filmed near Santa Fe, New Mexico, in Oct. 2021.

The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of making sure the gun wasn't loaded with real bullets, will also be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

“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,” said Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

The charges are fourth-degree felonies. They are each punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine, the district attorney said.

Carmack-Altwies said assistant director David Halls entered into a plea agreement on a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. He will receive six months of probation.

“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,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the district attorney to the case. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

Baldwin claimed that he was told the gun was safe. He also said in a TV interview that he did not pull the trigger when the gun went off. He claimed he only cocked the hammer.

Baldwin's attorney, Luke Nikas, called the decision to charge his client a "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.

The attorney for Gutierrez-Reed said they will also fight the charges.

"She did not commit involuntary manslaughter. These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts," said attorney Jason Bowles. "We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."

Hutchins' family, however, supports the charges, saying their "independent investigation" shows they are warranted.

"It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law," said Brian J. Panish, the attorney representing the Hutchins family.

The district attorney said no charges will be filed related to the shooting of director Joel Souza. He was wounded in the incident.