We reported that the prosecutors decided whether to bring charges against anyone involved in the shooting of the movie “Rust” in 2021. Halyna Hutchins was the cinematographer and Joel Souza was the director. Alec Baldwin, an actor, also shot at them.
Mary Carmack-Altwies, New Mexico’s First Judicial district attorney, announced that Baldwin would be facing two counts of involuntary murder. Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer, will be charged with involuntary murder.
Prosecutors stated that one of the involuntary murder charges is one where prosecutors must prove that there was underlying negligence. This fourth-degree felony carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
Prosecutors stated that the second involuntary murder charge is for the commission or a lawful act. This charge requires more proof than mere negligence to prove that death occurred. This charge also includes a firearm enhancement that carries a mandatory five-year sentence.
They are both being charged in the alternative. This means that either the judge or jury will decide between these two charges depending on whether the trial is a bench trial (just with one judge) or a trial by jury.
David Halls, the assistant director, pleaded guilty to negligently using a deadly weapon. The agreement includes a suspended sentence as well as six months probation.
I sat down with the prosecutors handling the Baldwin “Rust” shooting case to discuss the latest. The interview, here: pic.twitter.com/Bkh8vjY7SY
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) January 20, 2023
The FBI analysis revealed that five live rounds were found on the set, including one in Baldwin’s gun belt/holster.
Two loose.45 rounds were found at the top of a prop wagon. One of the performers had a third in a bandolier, while another was in a brown holster. Although the report did not indicate which belt was belonging to which actor, Vanity Fair was told by a source that the bandolier belonged to the Supernatural actor Jensen Ackles and that Baldwin owned the holster. Ackles declined to comment through a representative.
This raises questions about Baldwin’s decision to have a live bullet.
Carmack-Altwies stated that Baldwin was bound by a basic obligation not to point a gun at anyone and then pull the trigger. She said that he had a duty to inspect the bullets and make sure they were not live. He also had to ensure safety, but there were many accounts of safety concerns. She explained the charges and the way the judge or jury would decide which one would apply.
Andrea Reeb (special prosecutor in the case), was asked about Baldwin’s repeated claims to the media that he hadn’t pulled the trigger. Reeb stated that they believe that Baldwin pulled the trigger and that they have evidence. “The FBI laboratory report confirms that.” Reeb also confirmed that there were safety concerns on the set, including a “couple of accidental discharges.” Reeb claimed that management did not address these safety concerns. She stated that safety was compromised to save money.
Carmack-Altwies stated that Halls would have to testify against Baldwin or Gutierrez-Reed and that they felt that he was less guilty in the matter. This was why they reached a deal.
Jeanine inquired about reports that Baldwin might have altered evidence by deleting files from his phone. This could have been relevant to the case. Carmack-Altwies stated that “some things were missing”, but that they are continuing to investigate whether this was intentional. Baldwin could face additional charges for tampering. Carmack-Altwies confirmed that an assistant sent a text message asking to delete the archive.
Baldwin’s lawyers were contacted by Carmack-Altwies, who replied that he was being charged with a “miscarriage” of justice. She said that not holding Halyna Hutchins responsible for her death would be a miscarriage. “No one is above or below the law; everyone is equal before and after the law.”