Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ shooting charges downgraded
The charges against Alec Baldwin in connection to the accidental shooting of a Rust crew member have been downgraded.
In October 2021, while filming the movie on location, Baldwin was holding a Colt .45-caliber pistol that fired a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin and the movie’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were then both charged with involuntary manslaughter last month following the tragic incident.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the involuntary manslaughter charge remains against the pair, but The Santa Fe District Attorney has now removed a firearm enhancement from a second charge, meaning that a potential five-year prison sentence for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed is now no longer possible.
If found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter charge, the pair face a maximum of 18 months in prison.
Discussing the reason for the change in charges, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney spokesperson Heather Brewer said (via THR): “In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set.
“The prosecution’s priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles added that he “applaud[s] the decision by the District Attorney and it was the right call, ethically, and on the merits.”
In November of 2022, Alec Baldwin filed a lawsuit for negligence and indemnification against a number of Rust crew members including Gutierrez-Reed, weapons and rounds supplier Seth Kenney, first assistant director David Halls and property master Sarah Zachry. All have previously denied responsibility for the fatal shooting.
The complaint from Baldwin’s lawyer Luke Nikas (reported at the time via Deadline) read: “This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun, Gutierrez-Reed failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully, Halls failed to check the gun carefully and yet announced the gun was safe before handing it to Baldwin, and Zachry failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly off set and was a safety risk to those around her.”
Prior to this, in December 2021, Baldwin claimed he “didn’t pull the trigger” on the gun which killed Hutchins. “The trigger wasn’t pulled,” Baldwin said. “I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them, never.”