Alec Baldwin, gunsmith accused of shooting fatal ‘Rust’

Alec Baldwin pictured Tuesday in New York as prosecutors are expected to file formal charges for his role in the death of Halyna Hutchins on Rust.

Alec Baldwin, pictured Tuesday in New York as prosecutors are expected to file formal charges for his role in the death of Halyna Hutchins on Rust. (Photo: Reuters)

More than a year later cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed during filming Rust, star and producer Alec Baldwin has been charged criminally in connection with the fatal shooting.

Prosecutors filed formal charges Tuesday, nearly two weeks after the district attorney’s office announced Alec would face two counts of manslaughter. The Emmy-winning actor isn’t the only person authorities are holding responsible for the horrific crash. Gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of handling guns on the set of the western, was also officially charged with manslaughter.

“Today we took another important step to bring justice to Halyna Hutchins,” New Mexico Chief Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said Tuesday. “In New Mexico, no one is above the law and justice will be served.”

The careless use of a deadly weapon was also blamed on David Halls, the film’s first assistant director, who allegedly handed the gun to Baldwin. Halls pleaded no contest and entered into a plea deal that is pending approval.

Baldwin was photographed in New York City last Tuesday. Before the allegations were filed, the actor’s wife, Hilaria Baldwin, took to social media. Hilaria, who gave birth to the couple’s seventh child in September, once again thanked her fans and offered her husband public support.

“I hope you understand how much your support and kindness means to Alec and our children. Thank you for being our community and our village. You are helping us to be stronger parents and partners during this unimaginable time, resulting from such a heartbreaking tragedy,” she wrote, adding, “Alec, we love you and are here for you.”

Alec and Gutierrez-Reed are charged alternatively, which means that if a jury decides either is guilty, the panel must then determine which definition of manslaughter applies. A jury could also find them not guilty.

To be convicted of the first charge, manslaughter, prosecutors must prove there was underlying negligence. The other charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that there was more than mere negligence involved in a death. The latter includes a firearm upgrade, or mandatory additional penalty, due to the weapon involved. Alec and Gutierrez-Reed risk zero to five years behind bars.

Alec has repeatedly denied guilt despite holding the gun that fired, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. The actor said he didn’t pull the trigger. At trial, prosecutors will likely call in firearms experts to refute it. Alec claimed Halls told him it was a “cold gun,” meaning there was no live ammunition.

Lawyers for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have previously said they will fight the charges.

“This decision distorts the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and represents a terrible mistrial. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the film set,” the actor’s attorney , Quinn Emanuel’s Luke Nikas , previously told Yahoo Entertainment. “He relied on the professionals he worked with, who assured him the gun had no live bullets. We will fight these allegations and we will win.”

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion released the following statement: “Hannah is, and always has been, very emotional and sad about this tragic incident. But she did not commit manslaughter. These allegations are the result of a very flawed investigation and an imprecise understanding of the full facts. We intend to unearth the whole truth and believe that Hannah will be exonerated by a jury.”

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