- The accidental death on the set of 'Rust' continues to have consequences
- Alec Baldwin was charged with the wrongful shooting of Halyna Hutchins
- Baldwin has plead not guilty to THIS allegation
Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to a refiled count of involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western film 'Rust' in New Mexico. The actor entered the plea in a court filing in which he waived his right to an arraignment that was scheduled for Thursday.
Alec Baldwin just wants this to end
Baldwin was indicted by a grand jury in New Mexico on Jan. 19 for the on-set shooting in 2021. Hutchins was struck and killed by a .45 bullet from an antique six-shooter Baldwin was aiming during filming for the Western in October of that year. The Santa Fe County court documents reveal Baldwin's bold move, but the stakes are sky-high with potential prison time looming over the A-lister's head.
Under the intense scrutiny of the law, Baldwin has been released on his personal recognizance. The court's conditions are strict: no firearms, no booze or drugs, and no jet-setting without the court's nod. He's got the green light to promote 'Rust', but mum's the word on the accident with potential witnesses or victims.
The twist in Baldwin's tale comes after a grand jury re-indicted him on January 19, renewing the drama that had briefly simmered down when charges were dropped three months prior. Now, Baldwin faces a dual threat: involuntary manslaughter for negligent firearm use or, alternatively, for acting without due caution.
If the gavel falls against him, Baldwin could be staring down an 18-month sentence, a grim prospect for the actor whose legal eagles at Quinn Emanuel are gearing up for a courtroom showdown, promising, "We look forward to our day in court."
Flashback to 2021: Baldwin, on the 'Rust' set, weapon in hand, a fatal shot rings out. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' life is tragically cut short, and director Joel Souza is wounded. Baldwin has been adamant: he was unaware of the live round and denies pulling the trigger.
War of words
And now, the thick plot thickens more as SAG-AFTRA leaps to Baldwin's defense, challenging the notion that actors should double as firearm experts. The union insists that on-set weapons are the domain of specialized pros. But Gloria Allred, representing Hutchins' family, counters with a reality check: common sense and the law hold everyone accountable, including actors.
"To the extent that the charges filed on January 19 are based on an accusation of negligent use of a firearm predicated on this or any actor having a duty to inspect a firearm as part of its use, that is an incorrect assessment of the actual duties of an actor on set," the union shared in a statement released Thursday.
"An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert," the statement added. "Firearms are provided for use on set under the guidance of multiple expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm."
Gloria Allred offered a response to SAG-AFTRA's statement last Thursday, in which she said the idea that an actor is not responsible for discharging a weapon on a movie set "flies in the face of common sense and the law."
"Safety protocols may be considered at trial, but they are not the law," she said in a statement. "This indictment was the result of a careful assessment by the grand jury of all the facts and the law. It is important to respect the grand jury’s decision to indict, and to allow the criminal justice system to proceed to trial where the case will be decided on its merits."
For now, whatever may be the case, Baldwin is not allowed to consume alcohol and cannot leave the U.S. without written permission from the court, according to a conditional release order signed by the judge Wednesday. He is also only allowed to have contact with potential witnesses as it pertains to "business matters" to do with the movie.
The saga continues, with on-set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed also pleading not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, her trial looming in February.
The initial involuntary manslaughter charges brought against Gutierrez-Reed were not dropped. Last June, prosecutors also brought an additional count of felony fourth-degree tampering with evidence against her. She is expected to go to trial next month.
In a previously filed probable cause statement, prosecutors alleged that on the afternoon of the shooting, Gutierrez-Reed retrieved the gun from the prop truck and handed it to 'Rust' assistant director David Halls without conducting a necessary safety check.
Stay glued to your screens, folks, as this Hollywood heavyweight battles for his freedom in a story that's far from its final act...