Rust will be completed and will continue to star Alec Baldwin, who faces charges of involuntary manslaughter of crew member, attorney says

Rust will be completed and will continue to star Alec Baldwin, who faces charges of involuntary manslaughter of crew member, attorney says



CNN

Alec Baldwin, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges over the death of a crew member during a “Rust” film rehearsal, will continue to star, a production attorney told CNN on Friday.

As the film progresses, the operation “will include on-set security officers and union members and will prohibit any use of working guns or ammunition,” said Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions.

Spadone’s comments come a day after prosecutors announced plans to indict Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed in the October 2021 shooting of Halyna Hutchins on set at a ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hutchins, the film’s cinematographer, was hit and killed by live ammunition fired by Baldwin from a prop gun, and director Joel Souza was injured in the right shoulder. Souza will continue to direct as production progresses, Spadone said.

Baldwin, who is also the film’s producer, did not respond to reporters’ requests for comment on the charges when he entered his Manhattan home on Friday. A source close to Baldwin told CNN Friday that he plans to complete the film.

Although the fatal shooting was ruled an accident by New Mexico’s lead medical investigator, prosecutors believe a felony was committed.

“Just because it’s an accident doesn’t mean it’s not criminal,” First Judicial District prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies said Thursday as she explained the indictment ruling. “Our involuntary manslaughter law covers accidental killings.”

Carmack-Altwies said she will charge Baldwin and the film’s armorer with involuntary manslaughter and accuse them of failing to follow safety procedures that could have prevented the accident.

Formal charges are expected to be filed by the end of the month, Carmack-Altwies told CNN.

“Every person who handles a gun has a duty to ensure that when they handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, they don’t fire a projectile and kill someone,” Carmack-Altwies said.

Still, prosecutors face immense challenges when attempting to hear a case involving a prominent Hollywood figure, in addition to the legal thresholds they must demonstrate in order to secure a conviction.

A major film, Broadway and TV star for decades, Baldwin won Emmys for television’s “30 Rock” and an Oscar nomination for 2003’s “The Cooler.”

This image from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office shows the scene of the Oct. 21, 2021 shooting.

The two trials that Baldwin and the film’s armorer could potentially undergo would take weeks to a month and require expert testimony, Carmack-Altwies said.

The district attorney asked for $635,000 in “emergency” funds “to prosecute such a high-profile case,” she wrote to state officials last August.

“I need funds for a lawyer, an investigator, a media liaison, a paralegal, experts and general legal expenses,” she said.

And even before a trial can take place, each defendant will attend a preliminary hearing to determine if there is likely cause for a trial.

“These hearings will take weeks and happen fairly quickly once charges are brought,” Carmack-Altwies said.

But the case will be difficult to follow because it’s unclear how the live rounds got on set, according to CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, adding that experts have differing opinions about the responsibilities of actors and crew members on set to have.

“Remember, this is a criminal case. You need all 12 jurors to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So I’m not saying there’s no chance here, but this is a really tough case for prosecutors to have,” Honig said.

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Santa Fe District Attorney

Santa Fe Attorney Explains Decision To Charge Alec Baldwin With Filming Rust

Baldwin faces charges both as the person accused of firing the gun and as the film’s producer, Carmack-Altwies said, arguing that as a producer, Baldwin has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the set.

Gutierrez Reed, the film’s gunsmith who loaded the prop cannon, is also responsible for failing to ensure the gun’s safety, prosecutors say. Her attorney said she believes the rounds are dummy ammunition.

“No one checked these, or at least didn’t check them regularly,” Carmack-Altwies said. “And then they kind of got loaded into a gun that was given to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check it. He wasn’t doing any of the things he was supposed to be doing to make sure he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and pulled the trigger.”

Baldwin has claimed he never pulled the trigger and was unaware that the gun contained live rounds.

Gutierrez Reed and Baldwin will each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter, but each count has different punishments, Carmack-Altwies said in announcing the charges.

A jury would decide which count would be more appropriate, and if convicted, they would face only one count, the prosecutor said.

The convictions for both defendants include up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. But one charge carries an additional firearms enhancement — because a gun was involved — and would carry a mandatory sentence of five years in prison, Carmack-Altwies said.

Regarding the charges, Gutierrez Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles said Thursday: “We await the charges, but they are dead wrong about Hannah – we expect a jury to find her not guilty and her not manslaughter.” has committed. She was emotional about the tragedy but committed no crime.”

Meanwhile, Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said the actor was “taken by surprise” by the charges.

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the film set. He relied on the professionals he worked with to assure him the gun had no live cartridges. ”

When prosecutors announced the charges Thursday, Hutchins’ family praised their decision.

“It is a comfort to the family that no one is above the law in New Mexico,” the family said in a statement released by attorney Brian J. Panish.

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