Los Angeles, Jan 19 (EFE).- A district attorney in New Mexico on Thursday will file two charges of involuntary manslaughter against actor Alec Baldwin in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died from a single gunshot fired from a revolver Baldwin was holding during the filming of the Western film “Rust” in October 2021.
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said she will file charges in the matter before the end of the month.
Carmack-Altwies will also file criminal charges for involuntary manslaughter against the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was responsible for safety protocols during filming.
Meanwhile, assistant director David Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin, has signed an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to “negligent use of a deadly weapon,” whereby he will receive a suspended sentence and six months of probation.
Baldwin, who was also one of the film’s producers, could now face trial if he is unable to reach an agreement with prosecutors.
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’s tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set,” the actor’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement. “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Carmack-Altwies announced the pending charges after months of speculation regarding Baldwin’s role in the incident. The actor fired a prop revolver that contained real ammunition, although real ammo is prohibited on movie sets.
Baldwin apparently was not aware that the Colt .45 revolver he was carrying contained real bullets, but that shot struck Hutchins in the chest, killing her, and also wounded film director Joel Souza as they were rehearsing a scene with Baldwin in New Mexico’s Santa Fe County on Oct. 21, 2021.
Three months ago, Baldwin and the other producers of the film reached an agreement to settle the civil lawsuit for negligent homicide filed against them by Hutchins’ family.
On Thursday, the Hutchins family thanked the district attorney and other authorities for filing charges against Baldwin, saying in a statement reported by ABC that “Our independent investigation also supports (that) charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law.”
Baldwin – known for films such as “Pearl Harbor” and the popular TV series “30 Rock” – has consistently proclaimed his innocence in interviews with the media, alleging that Gutierrez Reed had responsibility for ensuring the safety of weapons being used in “Rust,” that he never actually pulled the gun’s trigger and that it discharged because it was defective.
Baldwin’s claim was contradicted in an August 2022 report in which several FBI analysts confirmed that the gun was tested and was functioning normally, and that for it to fire the trigger must have been pulled.
After the agreement reached between Hutchins’ family and Baldwin, which still must be approved by a judge, it is anticipated that filming on the project will resume later this year.