Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter

Set armourer also facing charges while first assistant director will plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon

US actor Alec Baldwin maintains that he did not know the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins was loaded. AFP
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Actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of Rust, prosecutors announced on Thursday.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the Rust film crew,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement.

“On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

Ms Carmack-Altwies has also brought involuntary manslaughter charges against Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the on-set armourer who was in charge of weapons.

Rust's chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy taking a selfie with cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set. Serge Svetnoy / AFP

The film’s first assistant director, David Halls, has agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Ms Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded when a gun Baldwin was holding during a rehearsal in October 2021 fired a live bullet.

The moment Alec Baldwin learnt of Halyna Hutchins death

The 30 Rock and Working Girl actor, who was also a producer on Rust, has denied responsibility for the shooting.

Baldwin has said he was told the gun was “cold” — an industry term meaning it is safe to use — and that he did not pull the trigger. He has sued crew members for negligence.

An FBI forensic test of the single-action revolver found it “functioned normally” and would not fire without the trigger being pulled.

New Mexico's Medical Investigator Office has ruled the shooting an accident, saying the gun did not appear to have been deliberately loaded with a live round.

Authorities have been trying to determine how a real bullet made its way to the movie set.

Ms Hutchins's family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and other producers last year.

Under the agreement, filming on the low-budget movie is set to resume this month, with Ms Hutchins's husband as an executive producer.

Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine

Updated: January 19, 2023, 5:23 PM