According to court documents, actor and producer Alec Baldwin was officially charged with involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday for the fatal shooting that happened on the set of his Western movie “Rust” in New Mexico in 2021. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who worked as the film’s armourer, was officially charged with the same things.
After a long investigation into the death of the movie’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, on the set of the movie in October 2021, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said earlier this month that she would be bringing the charges. During a rehearsal, Baldwin was holding a gun when it went off, killing Hutchins and hurting the director, Joel Souza.
In a probable cause statement filed with the court on Tuesday, an investigator for the prosecution said that Baldwin didn’t do anything about “multiple significant safety violations” on the set. The investigator also said that Baldwin could have gotten training on basic gun safety rules.
“The evidence shows that Baldwin broke these rules on more than one occasion without thinking, which led to the fatal shooting,” the statement said.
According to the statement, authorities found that there had been two “negligent discharges” on the set before the shoot.
In one scene, Sarah Zachary, who was in charge of the props for the movie, was holding a revolver that didn’t belong to Baldwin. According to the statement, she was holding the gun and “manipulating” it while walking, and she fired a blank into the ground.
In another case, the statement said, a stunt double fired a period rifle that had been loaded and left unattended with the performer. The name of the stunt double was not in the document.
Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, called the charges “a terrible miscarriage of justice” when they were first brought up. The actor told ABC News before that he hadn’t pulled the gun’s trigger before it went off. The lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed said that she did not commit manslaughter by accident and that the shooting was a “tragic accident.”
The district attorney’s office said that now that charges have been filed, each of Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will likely be sent a summons. Then, they will be given a date for their first court date, which can be done online.
After the first meeting, there would be a preliminary hearing in front of a judge. The judge would look at the prosecutors’ case and decide if the case could go to trial. The district attorney’s office says that these kinds of hearings usually happen within 60 days of charges being filed.
When the charges were made public, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson said it was possible that the case might not go to a jury. “At every step of the way, Alec Baldwin can think about a plea deal if there is one on the table,” she said.