‘Rust’ will be completed and will still star Alec Baldwin as he faces involuntary manslaughter charges in crew member’s death, lawyer says

‘Rust’ will be completed and will still star Alec Baldwin as he faces involuntary manslaughter charges in crew member’s death, lawyer says

‘Rust’ will be completed and will still star Alec Baldwin as he faces involuntary manslaughter charges in crew member’s death, lawyer says


Alec Baldwin, who is expected to face involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of a crew member during a rehearsal for the movie “Rust,” will continue to star in the lead role, a production attorney told CNN on Friday.

As the film progresses, operations will include “on-set safety supervisors and union staff members and will prohibit any use of work weapons or any ammunition,” said Melina Spadone, an attorney for Rust Movie Productions.

Spadone’s comments come a day after prosecutors announced plans to charge Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed with the October 2021 death 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 that Baldwin fired from a propelled gun, and director Joel Souza was wounded in the right shoulder. Souza will continue to direct the film as production progresses, Spadone said.

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

Although the fatal shooting was ruled an accident by New Mexico’s Chief Medical Investigator, prosecutors believe a crime was committed.

“Just because it’s an accident doesn’t mean it’s not criminal,” lead prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies said Thursday in explaining the prosecution’s decision. “Our manslaughter statute covers unintentional murder.”

Carmack-Altwies said he will charge Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith with involuntary manslaughter, accusing 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 make sure that if they handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, it will not fire a projectile and kill someone,” Carmack-Altwies said.

Still, prosecutors face immense challenges trying to try a case centered on a prominent Hollywood figure, beyond the legal limits they must prove to get a conviction.

Baldwin has been a major movie, Broadway and TV star for decades, winning Emmys for TV’s “30 Rock” and an Academy Award nomination for 2003’s “The Cooler”.

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

The two trials that Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith could face would take anywhere from weeks to a month and would require expert testimony, Carmack-Altwies said.

The district attorney requested $635,000 in “emergency” funds “to prosecute such an important case,” she wrote to state officials last August.

“I need funding for an attorney, investigator, media liaison, paralegal, expert witnesses and trial overheads,” she said.

And even before any trial can be held, each defendant will appear at a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is probable cause for trial.

“These hearings will take weeks to complete and will happen quickly once charges are filed,” explained Carmack-Altwies.

But the case will be difficult to prosecute as it’s unclear how the live rounds got started on set, according to CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, adding that experts have varying opinions on the responsibilities of actors and cast members. team on set.

“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 the prosecution,” Honig said.

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santa fe district attorney

Santa Fe DA Explains Decision to Charge Alec Baldwin for ‘Rust’ Shooting

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

Gutierrez Reed, the gunsmith in the film who loaded the weapon, is also responsible for failing to secure the weapon, prosecutors say. Her lawyer said she believed the bullets were dummy ammunition.

“Nobody was checking it or at least they weren’t checking it consistently,” Carmack-Altwies said. “And then they somehow got loaded into a gun handed over to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check. He didn’t do any of the things he was supposed to do 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 claimed he never pulled the trigger and was unaware that the gun contained real shells.

Gutierrez Reed and Baldwin will face two counts of involuntary manslaughter, but each charge carries a different level of punishment, Carmack-Altwies said when he announced the charges.

A jury would decide which count was most appropriate and, if convicted, they would be sentenced to just one count, the prosecutor said.

The conviction of both defendants can reach 18 months in prison and a fine of US$ 5,000. But a charge carries an additional enhancement of firearms — because a gun was involved — and would carry a mandatory five-year prison sentence, Carmack-Altwies said.

Regarding the charges, Gutierrez Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, said Thursday: “We’re waiting for the charges, but they’re dead wrong on Hannah — we’re hoping she’s found not guilty by a jury and she didn’t commit manslaughter. She was moved by the tragedy but committed no crime.”

Meanwhile, Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, said the actor was “taken aback” by the allegations.

“Sir. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He trusted the professionals he worked with who assured him the gun didn’t have live ammunition.”

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

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

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