Alec Baldwin charged again with involuntary manslaughter over fatal Rust shooting

Photo issued by Santa Fe County Sheriff's office showing Alec Baldwin practising drawing his revolver on the set of Rust
Alec Baldwin draws his revolver on the set of Rust - Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA
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Alec Baldwin has been charged again with involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a film set in 2021.

A grand jury in New Mexico revived the case against the 65-year-old Hollywood star, nine months after the charges were dropped by state prosecutors.

It is understood that at least eight of the 12 jurors agreed that there was probable cause to indict the actor.

The actor has been charged with involuntary manslaughter through the negligent use of a firearm or alternatively without due caution or circumspection.

If convicted, he faces a potential jail term of up to 18 months for a fourth-degree felony under New Mexico law.

In response to Friday’s indictment, Mr Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, said: “We look forward to our day in court.”

The case centres on the accidental shooting of Hutchins, a mother of one, on the set of Rust, a western which was being filmed in New Mexico.

She died after a gun Mr Baldwin was holding went off. The actor has said he believed the pistol was loaded with blanks rather than live ammunition.

Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed on set while filming the movie Rust
Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed on set while filming the movie Rust - MAT HAYWARD/GETTY IMAGES

Mr Baldwin, who was both the producer and star of the film, also said he had been told that there was no live ammunition on the set. He maintained that he did not pull the trigger when the gun went off.

However, a forensic report commissioned by the prosecution found that the gun could not have been fired without the trigger having been pulled.

It reached the conclusion following extensive examination by a ballistic testing company in Arizona.

“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” said Lucien Haag of Forensic Science Services who carried out the analysis.

The original prosecuting team held that Mr Baldwin acted with “wilful disregard” in the way in which he handled the weapon.

‘Job is not to be firearms expert’

It argued that, as actor and producer, Mr Baldwin, who was initially charged in January last year, was responsible for ensuring the gun did not contain live rounds.

Baldwin’s legal team disputed this and they were backed by the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA disagreed, saying “an actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armourer, who was responsible for weapons on the set, has already pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and her trial is due to start next month.

Dave Halls, the film’s first assistant director, who was in charge of safety on the set, has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Ms Hutchins’ parents are suing Baldwin and the film’s producers. Their lawyer, Gloria Allred, said “They continue to seek the truth in our civil lawsuit for them and they also would like there to be accountability in the criminal justice system.”

Filming of Rust resumed in April last year in Montana, using replica weapons and a new crew.

Mr Baldwin has said the tragedy has hit his career. “I got fired from another job yesterday,” he told CNN in an interview in August 2022. It was one of five roles he lost following the Rust shooting.

The actor has put his five-bedroom, nine-bathroom property in the Hamptons on Long Island on the market. Originally listed at $29 million (£23 million) in September 2022, the asking price has since fallen to $19 million.

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