Alec Baldwin is set to be formally charged with felony charges of involuntary manslaughter today over the shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The actor, 64, will be charged alongside the film’s weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed over the death in October 2021 during on on-set rehearsal for the Western movie.
The 30 Rock star, who was pictured looking somber on Sunday as he took a stroll in New York carrying his phone and paperwork while wife Hilaria unloaded their car, could face trial this year over the killing.
Hilaria, 39, admitted she doesn’t ‘feel so strong’ after a state prosecutor announced on January 19 that her husband would face charges.
Alec Baldwin is set to be formally charged with felony charges of involuntary manslaughter today over the shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured in New York on Sunday)
She said on a recent episode of her podcast Witches Anonymous: ‘It’s been an emotional time for my family. And I do so want to express to you how grateful I am for your support and your kindness and your reason.
‘Quite honestly, without it, we would crumble. So, thank you so much for being our rock right now because I don’t feel so strong.’
In recent weeks, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has outlined two sets of involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the shooting against Baldwin and film set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
The district attorney said through a spokeswoman Monday that her office will release charging documents and a statement of probable cause outlining the evidence.
Hutchins’ death already has led to new safety precautions in the film industry.
The 64-year-old actor took a solo walk carrying some paperwork and bundled up in a navy blue puffer jacket
Hilaria Baldwin, 39, was pictured unloading her car by the family home after a short trip away
Baldwin is set to be formally charged with felony charges of involuntary manslaughter today
Hilaria, 39, admitted she doesn’t ‘feel so strong’ after a state prosecutor announced on January 19 that her husband would face charges
Involuntary manslaughter can involve a killing that happens while a defendant is doing something lawful but dangerous and is acting negligently or without caution.
Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb has cited a pattern of ‘criminal disregard for safety’ on the set of Rust.
Prosecutors also said they will release the terms of a signed plea agreement with assistant director David Halls, who oversaw safety on the set.
Participants in the un-filmed rehearsal have given conflicting accounts of who handed the gun to Baldwin.
Halls has agreed to plead guilty in the negligent use of a deadly weapon, they said.
Previous witnesses have said that Halls handed Baldwin the gun and that he declared it a ‘cold gun’ despite the presence of live ammo in the chamber, according to a search warrant.
Alec and Hilaria are pictured last week leaving the city as he prepares to face a potential trial
Hutchins was the cinematography director of the film and is shown here on her Instagram page
‘Cold gun’ is a term used on sets to notify that live ammo isn’t being used.
In a December deposition with the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, Halls denied giving Baldwin the gun, saying he gave it to Gutierrez-Reed. He also accused Gutierrez-Reed of declaring ‘cold gun.’
Halls also compared the death of Hutchins as comparable to a plane crash in that it wasn’t any one person’s fault but rather ‘a system failure.’
Halls told the deposition that he had no ‘recollection’ of saying ‘cold gun’ adding, ‘I have recollections of Hannah saying it.’
‘It’s just like what they say about an airplane crash. It’s like it’s just not one thing, y’know. It’s a system failure.’
Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said in a statement Monday that prosecutors are ‘fully focused on securing justice for Halyna Hutchins’ and ‘the evidence and the facts speak for themselves.’
Baldwin, also a co-producer on Rust, has described the killing as a tragic accident.
In November, Baldwin had launched a lawsuit against Halls, in addition to other production staff
David Halls, the first assistant director on the set of Rust, is likely to testify against Alec Baldwin
The 64-year-old actor said he was told the gun was safe and has sought to clear his name by suing people involved in handling and supplying the loaded .45-caliber revolver.
In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while working on camera angles with Hutchins, he pointed the gun in her direction and pulled back and released the hammer of the weapon, which discharged.
Defense attorney Jason Bowles, who represents Gutierrez-Reed, said the charges are the result of a ‘flawed investigation’ and an ‘inaccurate understanding of the full facts.’
Involuntary manslaughter linked to negligence is a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law.
The second set of manslaughter charges allege recklessness with a provision that could result in a mandatory five years in prison because the offense was committed with a gun.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film set’s armorer, will also be charged with involuntary manslaughter
Once charges have been filed with the court, Baldwin will be issued with a summons – but he won’t have to go New Mexico to honor it in person.
Instead, he will be allowed to appear before a judge virtually.
The hearing is the first step in long judicial process.
A judge must then review the evidence that the prosecutors have compiled, and rule on whether or not the case can proceed to trial.
That is known as a probable cause hearing.
If Baldwin pleads not guilty, which he is expected to do, the case will move to trial.
If convicted, Baldwin has the right to an appeal and it’s likely he would file one.
Sentencing would likely be put on hold until them.
Baldwin faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison of convicted of involuntary manslaughter with the firearm enhancement that prosecutors discussed today.
The involuntary manslaughter charge also carries a $5,000 fine.
The key questions that remain UNANSWERED as prosecutors prepare to formally file charges over Rust shooting
But even though prosecutors say they are responsible for the accidental death, two key questions remain unanswered; how did live bullets end up on the film set to begin with? And did Alec Baldwin pull the trigger?
Why were there live bullets on Rust set?
Baldwin was handed the gun by Assistant Director Dave Halls, who’d been handed the gun by Gutierrez-Reed.
She has always insisted she is not to blame, and doesn’t know how a live round ended up mixed in with dummy rounds on the set.
It remains unclear how they came to be on the Bonanza Creek Ranch.
Actor Alec Baldwin pictured on January 9, the last time he was seen publicly.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Baldwin insisted she brought the live rounds to the set and was to blame
Seth Kenney, the owner of the prop shop which supplied the dummy rounds for Rust, had both live and dummy rounds in his shop.
He told police that Gutierrez-Reed had been firing live rounds on the set – but he didn’t say where she obtained the bullets from.
That is the question that Baldwin believes is at the heart of the investigation. He has always argued that whoever brought those rounds onto the set and mixed them with dummies is to blame, and his fans agree.
Did Alec Baldwin pull the trigger or not?
Another key question that remains unresolved is whether Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger on the gun.
It was prop gun, and the plan was to load it with dummies.
The shooting happened while Baldwin was rehearsing, so he insists he did not pull the trigger.
He says he pulled the gun from his holster and held it facing Hutchins, director Joel Souza and the rest of the crew.
Crucially, he has always maintained that it was ‘cocked’ – but says he did not fire it.
The gun used by Baldwin in the Rust shooting. He is facing five years in prison but insists he didn’t pull the trigger. Instead, he says the gun was cocked and fired spontaneously
The damning FBI report that said the gun could not have fired without the trigger being pulled while cocked, like Baldwin said it was
‘The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.
‘I cock the gun. I go, “Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?”
‘And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes of,’ he said during a December interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
‘So, you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them.’
Those comments were undermined by an FBI report released in August which said it was impossible for the gun to fire while cocked unless the trigger had been pulled.
The same report said that it was possible for the gun to fire without the trigger being pulled if the gun was not cocked.
Baldwin’s attorneys however slapped down that report. They said it was based on testing that wasn’t extensive. They are expected to pick that apart at trial.