Involuntary manslaughter charges were formally filed Tuesday against actor Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting on the New Mexico set of the film Rust.
Both Baldwin and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, have been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021.
First assistant director David Halls has already agreed to plead no contest for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Santa Fe First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced their decision to file charges on January 19, nearly three months after receiving the local sheriff’s department investigation into the shooting.
Now that charges have been filed, each defendant will be issued a summons for their first court appearance, which can be done virtually or waived, prosecutors said. During a preliminary hearing, a judge will decide whether there is probable cause to move forward with a trial. Preliminary hearings are typically scheduled within 60 days of charges being filed, according to the district attorney’s office.
Should the case go to trial, a jury would have to decide under which definition of involuntary manslaughter Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were guilty. For the first count of involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors must prove “underlying negligence,” while the second count, involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, “requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death,” the district attorney’s office said.
Both counts are fourth-degree felonies punishable by up to 18 months in jail, however, a firearm enhancement on the second charge could carry a mandatory sentence of five years in prison, prosecutors said.
Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, called the charging decision “a terrible miscarriage of justice” and vowed to fight the charges.
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, also pushed back against the charges and called the investigation flawed.
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