Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin charged with manslaughter over film set shooting

Baldwin reportedly faces up to 18 months in jail if convicted


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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Sat 20 Jan 2024, 8:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 20 Jan 2024, 10:23 PM

Actor Alec Baldwin has been charged with manslaughter over the deadly 2021 shooting on the set of his film 'Rust', according to a court document filed Friday.

Baldwin, who was also a producer on the film, was holding a Colt .45 during rehearsals for the low-budget Western in New Mexico when it discharged a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has repeatedly denied any responsibility for the October 2021 shooting, and said that he did not pull the trigger on the gun, which in any case should have been loaded with a dummy.

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Friday's development marks the latest attempt to hold someone to account for the deadly episode, which sent shockwaves through Hollywood and led to calls for tightening rules around firearms on movie sets.

Initial manslaughter charges against Baldwin were dropped in April last year, due to what prosecutors called "new facts" which demanded "further investigation and forensic analysis."

In October, prosecutors said they were convening a grand jury — a group of citizens who assess evidence and decide whether there is a case to answer.

"We look forward to our day in court," Baldwin's attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in a statement sent to AFP on Friday.

Baldwin reportedly faces up to 18 months in jail if convicted of the new charge.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film's armorer — the person responsible for supplying and maintaining weapons — is set to go on trial next month on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors say that as the person who loaded the gun, she is culpable.

She denies the charges.

There has been no explanation as to how live rounds ended up on the movie set.

Dave Halls, the film's safety coordinator and assistant director who handed Baldwin the loaded gun, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to six months' probation.

Filming of 'Rust' resumed last year, and has now been completed, Variety reported, using new locations in the US state of Montana.

The cinematographer's widower, Matthew Hutchins, served as an executive producer.

He has already settled a wrongful death suit with 'Rust' producers, and has said he has "no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame," calling his wife's death "a terrible accident."

Director Souza also returned, saying at the time that completing the movie would be "bittersweet" but that the cast and crew "are committed to completing what Halyna and I started."


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