SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors planned to file manslaughter charges Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a cameraman by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal on the set of a 2021 western.
Cinematographer Halina Hutchins died shortly after being wounded at a ranch for a movie set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, on October 21, 2021. Baldwin had pointed a gun at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and injuring the film’s director.
In recent weeks, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Althuis outlined two sets of manslaughter charges in connection with the shootings of Baldwin and on-set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reid.
The district attorney said through a spokeswoman Monday that her office will release charging documents and a probable cause statement outlining the evidence. Hutchins’ death has already prompted new precautions in the film industry.
Manslaughter can include killing that occurs while the accused is doing something lawful but dangerous and acting carelessly or without caution. Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb cited a pattern of “criminal disregard for safety” on the set of Rust.
Prosecutors also said they would release the terms of the plea agreement signed with assistant director David Halls, who oversees set safety. Participants in the unfilmed rehearsal have given conflicting accounts of who handed the gun to Baldwin.
Halls agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, they said.
Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said in a statement Monday that prosecutors are “absolutely focused on getting justice for Halina Hutchins” and “the evidence and the facts speak for themselves.”
Baldwin, also a “Rust” co-producer, described the killing as a tragic accident. The 64-year-old actor said he was told the gun was safe and tried to clear his name by suing people involved in the handling and delivery of the loaded .45-caliber revolver.
In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while he was working on camera angles with Hutchins, he pointed the gun in her direction and pulled back and released the weapon’s firing pin, which discharged.
Defense attorney Jason Bowles, who is representing Gutierrez-Reid, said the charges were the result of a “flawed investigation” and “an inaccurate understanding of the full facts.”
Defendants can participate remotely in many initial court proceedings or request that their first appearance be waived.
Negligent manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law. The second set of manslaughter charges alleges recklessness with a provision that could result in a mandatory five years in prison because the crime was committed with a gun.
The decision to indict Baldwin marks a stunning turn of events for the A-list actor, whose 40-year career includes the early blockbuster “The Hunt for Red October” and a starring role in the sitcom “30 Rock,” as well as iconic appearances in “The Departed ” by Martin Scorsese and a film adaptation of “Glengary Glen Ross” by David Mamet. In recent years, Baldwin has been known for his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”