Alec Baldwin and ‘Rust’ Armorer Charges Downgraded, Removing Potential Five-Year Prison Sentence
The charges against Alec Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have been downgraded, removing a potential five-year prison sentence for both in the Santa Fe case involving the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer.
On Friday, the Santa Fe District Attorney formally downgraded the second of two charges, which included a firearm enhancement. That charge, lawyers for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed argued in a motion filed earlier this month, was based on New Mexico law that passed following Halyna Hutchins’ death on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set in October 2021.
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The involuntary manslaughter charges remain in place, but the firearm enhancement from the second charge has been dropped, taking a possible five-year prison sentence for both off the table. They both still face an involuntary manslaughter charge that comes with a maximum of 18 months in prison.
“In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
In response, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement that the armorer’s legal team “applaud(s) the decision by the District Attorney and it was the right call, ethically, and on the merits.” THR has reached out to Baldwin’s legal representation for comment.
Charges were formally filed against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed on Jan. 31, more than a year after Hutchins was fatally shot on the Rust movie set by a gun that discharged a live round while in the hand of producer-actor Baldwin. That followed Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announcing criminal charges against the two on Jan. 19. Neither was arrested.
Baldwin was charged by prosecutors as both an actor and producer for Rust. Gutierrez-Reed was charged as the armorer, the individual responsible for weapons and ammunition on a set, and the one who loaded the gun on the day of the shooting.
At the time the formal charges were announced, prosecutors said Baldwin should have known “the first rule of gun safety is never to point a gun at someone you don’t intend on shooting,” and that he should have also assumed the gun was loaded with live rounds. The statement from the DA’s office also noted he neglected to undergo “required firearms training prior to the commencement of filming,” even “after [Gutierrez-Reed] requested more training.”
“This reckless deviation from known standards and practice and protocol directly caused the fatal shooting,” the statement said. “Baldwin acted with willful disregard of the safety of others and in a manner which endangered other people.”