Alec Baldwin will continue to star in Rust despite facing manslaughter charge

The film set will ban the use of any working weapons or ammunition and include on-set safety supervisors.
Alec Baldwin will continue to star in Rust despite facing manslaughter charge

By Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Alec Baldwin will finish filming western movie Rust despite the decision to prosecute him over a shooting on set which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The US actor (64) and the film’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter over the death of Ms Hutchins on the film’s set in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ms Hutchins was killed when a prop gun held by Baldwin was discharged in October 2021. Rust director Joel Souza was also wounded in the shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Alec Baldwin Set Shooting
A vigil in honour of Halyna Hutchins (Andres Leighton/AP/PA)

Melina Spadone, lawyer for Rust Movie Productions, confirmed the film is “still on track to be completed with Mr Baldwin in the lead role and Joel Souza returning as director”.

The project will include “on-set safety supervisors and union crew members” and will “bar any use of working weapons or any ammunition”, she confirmed.

Ms Spadone added that live ammunition is, and always was, prohibited on the set.

Last week, the district attorney’s office confirmed Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative” with the two counts of manslaughter, meaning that a jury will decide not simply if they are guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they are guilty.

The first charge can be referred to as involuntary manslaughter and requires proof of underlying negligence.

Rust incident
Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)

This charge also includes the misdemeanour charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would be likely to merge as a matter of law.

The second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved.

Under New Mexico law, both charges are a fourth-degree felony and are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 dollar (€4,600) fine.

The second charge includes a firearm enhancement which makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.

Assistant director David Halls also signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

British Comedy Awards 2008 – London
Alec Baldwin (Ian West/PA)

District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb are expected to formally file charges with New Mexico’s First Judicial District Court before the end of the month.

At the time, Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, said the decision to prosecute “represents a terrible miscarriage of justice”.

He added: “Mr Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set.

“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

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