Alec Baldwin Indicted By Grand Jury In 'Rust' Shooting

Actor Alec Baldwin was indicted by a New Mexico grand jury over the 2021 death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after a prop gun fired a live round and struck her, according to court documents.

Actor Alec Baldwin attends the 2019 PEN America Literary Gala In New York, on May 21, 2019. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

According to several media outlets, the move to indict Mr. Baldwin was confirmed Friday after the grand jury heard evidence presented by special prosecutors. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Specifically, he was charged with involuntary manslaughter—negligent use of a firearm—or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter—without due caution or circumspection—reported ABC News. Both are fourth-degree felonies.

His lawyers suggested to several news outlets Friday that they would fight the charge. “We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin lawyers Alex Spiro and Luke Nikas said in a statement.

The “30 Rock” actor’s initial involuntary manslaughter charges were dropped in April 2023. At the time, prosecutors said they could be brought again, however.

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter as well. She faces an additional charge of evidence tampering.

The special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis sent the gun for more forensic testing several months ago. Experts who evaluated the firearm found that it could have only fired if the trigger was pulled.

This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger,” their report concluded. “Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

While the proceeding is shrouded in secrecy, two of the witnesses seen at the courthouse included crew members—one who was present when the fatal shot was fired and another who had walked off the set the day before due to safety concerns.

Mr. Baldwin, the lead actor and a co-producer on the Western movie, was pointing a gun at Ms. Hutchins during a rehearsal on a movie set outside Santa Fe in October 2021 when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. But Mr. Baldwin has said he pulled back the hammer but not the trigger, and the gun fired.

An earlier FBI report on the agency’s analysis of the gun found that, as is common with firearms of that design, it could go off without pulling the trigger if force was applied to an uncocked hammer, such as by dropping the weapon.

The only way the testers could get it to fire was by striking the gun with a mallet while the hammer was down and resting on the cartridge or by pulling the trigger while it was fully cocked. The gun eventually broke during testing.

The 2021 shooting resulted in a series of civil lawsuits, including wrongful death claims filed by members of Hutchins’ family, centered on accusations that the defendants were lax with safety standards. Mr. Baldwin and other defendants have disputed those allegations.

Ms. Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, also filed a lawsuit after the incident, reaching a settlement in 2022. It allowed for insurance funds and a portion of “Rust’s” profits to help the couple’s child.

When the settlement was reached, Mr. Hutchins said he didn’t assign blame to Mr. Baldwin.

I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he said at the time, according to reports. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”

The Rust Movie Productions company has paid a $100,000 fine to state workplace safety regulators after a scathing narrative of failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.

The filming of “Rust” resumed last year in Montana under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, that made him an executive producer.

The movie’s assistant director, David Halls, was named as the individual who gave the firearm to Mr. Baldwin on the day of the shooting. Last year, he signed a plea deal for the “charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon” and received six months’ probation, according to prosecutors.

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

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