Alec Baldwin formally charged with manslaughter

Alec Baldwin formally charged with manslaughter


American actor Alec Baldwin, author of a fatal shooting on the set of the film “Rust” in 2021, has been charged with manslaughter and faces up to five years in prison if convicted of aggravated negligence, a prosecutor announced on Tuesday.

The film's gunwoman Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who handled the gun, is facing the same charge, said Santa Fe County New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

“No one is above the law and justice will be served,” she insisted in a statement.

On October 21, 2021, this shooting at a ranch in New -Mexico (southwest) had turned tragic when Mr. Baldwin had activated a weapon supposed to contain only blank bullets, but whose very real projectile had killed the director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured the director Joel Souza.

This rare news item had shocked Hollywood and had a strong impact, triggering calls to ban firearms on sets, where the presence of live ammunition is in theory already prohibited.

If they are convicted for simple manslaughter, Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed face up to 18 months in prison. But this sentence could be increased to a maximum of five years in prison in the event of aggravated negligence.

The prosecutor announced her intention to prosecute on January 20. The actor's lawyer, Luke Nikas, then denounced a “terrible miscarriage of justice”.

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe that a live ammunition was in the weapon, or anywhere else at the shooting location,” he insisted.

Alec Baldwin, 64, in particular known for the “30 Rock” series, always said that he was assured that his weapon was harmless.

Assistant director David Halls, who had given him the weapon, informing him that it was not dangerous, will be accused of negligence when using a deadly weapon. Lawsuits that he chose not to contest.

Mr. Baldwin also denies pulling the trigger, a claim questioned by many experts.

In August, the actor said he expected no one to be charged, telling CNN having hired a private detective to establish responsibilities in this case.

The tragedy gave rise to a flurry of civil lawsuits, emanating from several members of the team.

En October, Alec Baldwin announced that he had reached an agreement ending the civil lawsuits brought by the family of Ms. Hutchins. Its amount was not disclosed.

At the time, the resumption of filming of “Rust” was also announced for early 2023. The widower of the late director of photography, Matthew Hutchins, is to be promoted to executive producer of the film.