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Alec Baldwin Accused Of “Reckless Acts” Leading To Hutchins Death

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On Tuesday, actor Alec Baldwin was accused of involuntary manslaughter for displaying a “reckless” disregard for safety that made cinematographer Halyna Hutchins a victim of the fatal shooting on the set of the Western movie “Rust” in New Mexico in 2021, as per the court documents.

After months of speculation as to whether Baldwin showed criminal negligence when he fired a live round of a revolver while rehearsing killing Hutchins, District Attorney Mary Carmack- Altwies filed charges against the actor.

Both the actor and set armorer Hannah Gutierrez- Reed were accused with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. For the most serious charge, for which a sentence of five years in prison is given, the prosecutors would have to prove to the jury that Baldwin’s actions were deliberate negligence, that is, he did not have any concern for the safety of others.

Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer said the prosecutor had “completely misunderstood the facts and has reached the wrong conclusions.”

Baldwin’s case is extraordinary as there is little to no similarity for any Hollywood actor to be accused of criminal charges for an on-set shooting.

The prosecution’s special investigator, Robert Shilling, pointed out a potential cause which clarified that Baldwin was facing criminal charges as both an actor and producer of the low-budget movie.

Shilling noted many “extremely reckless acts or reckless failures to act” in the 10-day period that led to Hutchins’s death. The investigator cited Baldwin’s lack of sufficient firearms training, checking with the armorer to see whether the revolver was loaded or not or addressing the safety complaints from the crew.

The actor disagreed with being responsible for shooting inside a movie-set church. He stated that Hutchins told him to point the gun at the camera, he cocked the gun but didn’t pull the trigger.

Live ammunition should not have been permitted on the set and Gutierrez-Reed and first assistant director Dave Halls should have made sure that the firearm was unloaded, Baldwin said. His statement was supported by many actors and the Sag-AFTRA union.

Shilling said that videos of the church before the shooting shows the actor’s finger on the trigger.

In addition, an FBI forensic test demonstrates that the gun “functioned normally” and would not have fired if the trigger wasn’t pulled.

Baldwin’s comments to the media were used against him by the prosecution, stating that the investigation shows the actor straying from the firearm safety protocols that he talked about in television interviews.

An attorney with entertainment law firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley, Kate Mangels, said, “Baldwin would have been better served not making public statements about these incidents.”

A legal analyst said that it would take long for the prosecutors to convince the jury that Baldwin is criminally accountable as he is confident that the gun was not loaded and that it will be tough to hold him responsible for the movie’s insufficient safety.

The producers of the movie “Rust” are not facing any charges.

Gutierrez-Reed’s side of the case

According to the charging documents, armorer Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for “allowing live ammunition on the set”, but she was not charged for physically introducing them to the production.

Gutierrez-Reed said that she came with two boxes of dummy rounds on the set from her last movie. The dummy rounds and blanks were supplied to her by the company PDQ Arms. An FBI test discovered a live long Colt. 45 rounds taken from PDQ in Albuquerque are not the same as the rounds on the set, including the one that killed Hutchins and wounded Joel Souza.

It is the responsibility of the armorer to ensure firearm safety and training, and she failed to provide proper instruction to Baldwin, to check whether the revolver was loaded or be present during rehearsals to make sure Baldwin did not point the gun at Hutchins, the special investigator said.

Gutierrez-Reed stated that she checked that the gun was loaded with dummies before giving the gun to Dave Halls and leaving the church as per COVID protocols. Halls then passed the gun over to Baldwin, saying it was a “cold gun” meaning the gun was not loaded with a live round, according to the police.

Hall has signed a plea deal for a minor wrongdoing charge and must cooperate with the police.

While the armorer also said the producers, including Baldwin, declined her request for extra firearms training. On December 20, Gabrielle Pickle, line producer on the movie, confessed to New Mexico’s worker safety agency (OSHA) that Gutierrez’s request for extra firearm training was granted.

Gutierrez-Reed testified to OSHA, on December 7, that Baldwin’s insufficient knowledge and “poor form” in using the revolver led to the death of Hutchins.

Gutierrez’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, said her senior, Dave Halls, was to be blamed for not summoning Gutierrez-Reed back to the church to carry out her responsibilities as armorer.

In a statement, he said, “We will fight these charges and expect that a jury will find Hannah not guilty.”

The defendants will go through the court accusations virtually, followed by a preliminary hearing, which is usually held 60 days after the charges are filed, where it will be left for the judge to decide whether the case should proceed to trial.

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