Alec Baldwin Chatted on Phone With Family During Crucial Firearms Training, Prosecutors Allege

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Alec Baldwin allegedly blew off a scheduled firearms training, then talked on the phone with his family during a brief, follow-up gun lesson, before the fatal shooting on the set of Rust—just one of a litany of failures outlined in charging documents filed by New Mexico prosecutors on Tuesday.

The document, which repeatedly slams the actor’s “willful disregard for safety,” was made public Tuesday after Baldwin and the film’s armorer, Hannah Reed Gutierrez, were formally charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The filing came as expected, two weeks after prosecutors announced their plans to levy charges against the pair by the end of January.

Prosecutors alleged that “negligence” by Gutierrez and Baldwin led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and serious injuries to Joel Souza, a film director.

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The fatal shooting, which Baldwin’s camp has emphasized was nothing more than a tragic accident, happened on Oct. 21, 2021, when Baldwin fired a Colt .45 revolver during a rehearsal for a scene.

“On the day of the shooting alone, evidence shows that no less than a dozen acts, or omissions of recklessness, occurred in the short time prior to lunch and the time of the shooting, and this does not include the reckless handling of the firearm by Baldwin,” the probable cause affidavit said.

Prosecutors added that Baldwin should never have had a real gun in his hands during a rehearsal that wasn’t being filmed—let alone one equipped with live rounds.

The affidavit said Baldwin pointed the gun at Hutchins as she was setting up a future scene inside a church on a ranch in rural Santa Fe County. It says Baldwin—despite his assertions that he never pulled the trigger—then fired the powerful revolver, sending a live round through Hutchins’ chest and into Souza.

“By not receiving the required training on firearms, deviating from the required duties of checking the firearm with the armorer, letting the armorer leave the church against protocol, deviating from the practice of only accepting the firearm from the armorer, not dealing with safety complaints on the set, not making sure the protocol of safety meetings was occurring, putting his finger on the trigger of a real gun, not using a replica firearm for the unscheduled rehearsal, pointing the gun at Hutchins and Souza, and the overall handling of the firearm in a negligent manner, Baldwin acted with willful disregard of the safety of others,” the affidavit states.

They later added, “Baldwin clearly should have known the danger of his actions.”

Prosecutors called out Baldwin for flip-flopping his story on whether he pulled the revolver’s trigger that day, saying he gave “very inconsistent accounts of what happened.”

The affidavit also noted that, as the western film’s primary producer, it was largely Baldwin’s responsibility to hold safety meetings and trainings.

Instead, prosecutors alleged that Baldwin did the opposite and was even “distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family” during his single, short firearm training with Gutierrez.

“This reckless deviation from known standards and practice and protocol directly caused the fatal shooting,” said Robert Schilling, a special investigator for the district attorney’s office, in a statement sent to the Wall Street Journal.

Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez, reacted to the affidavit in a statement to The Daily Beast, saying prosecutors “completely misunderstood the facts” of what happened and “reached the wrong conclusions.”

Bowles claims that Gutierrez suggested Baldwin use a plastic gun during the rehearsal, but she was told no by her boss, assistant director Dave Halls, because he wanted Baldwin to use a “real gun.”

Halls has already agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, a misdemeanor, and will serve a suspended sentence and six months probation.

Bowles claimed the charges against Gutierrez were bogus, especially compared to the punishment Halls faces. He said Gutierrez, who he claimed was elsewhere on the set during the shooting, would’ve inspected the gun herself if she was called into the church as she asked Halls to do if Baldwin used a real weapon.

“The tragedy of this is had Hannah just been called back into the church by Halls, she would have performed the inspection and prevented this tragedy,” Bowles said. “We will fight these charges and expect that a jury will find Hannah not guilty.”

Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter. It’ll be up to a jury to decide which specific count is more appropriate, with one carrying a “firearm enhancement” that calls for a minimum of 5 years in prison, while the other carries a sentence of up to 18 months behind bars if convicted.

Baldwin and Gutierrez won’t be arrested and have agreed to be served summons in the case. The duo are expected have their first appearance in court, which can be done virtually in New Mexico, sometime in February.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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