Alec Baldwin vowed to fight involuntary manslaughter charges over Halyna Hutchins’ death and branded the prosecution ‘a terrible miscarriage of justice.’
It was announced that Baldwin, 64, and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 25, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter Thursday, 15 months after the 42-year-old cinematographer was shot dead by the actor on the set of Rust in New Mexico.
Baldwin’s attorney Luka Nikas hit out, claiming ‘this decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death’, and doubled-down on his client’s previous protestations, saying the actor’s colleagues ‘assured him the gun did not have live rounds.’
‘We will fight these charges, and we will win,’ the lawyer stated.
But Mary Carmack-Altwies, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, promised that Baldwin would not get ‘a free pass’, accusing the actor of running a ‘fast and loose set’ plagued by safety issues.
Baldwin has continually laid blame at the feet of others since accidentally shooing Hutchins dead on October 21, 2021.
Baldwin has openly defied pulling the trigger, but this contradicted an FBI analysis of the vintage Colt handgun that fired the fatal shot
Halyna Hutchins with her husband Matthew, a film producer, and their son Andros, who was eight-years-old when his mother was shot dead on the set of Rust in New Mexico
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 25, (left) is also to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Dave Halls, the Assistant Director, has pleaded guilty to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
In a now-infamous interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos in December 2021, he said he did not feel responsible for Hutchins’ death and claimed it was ‘highly unlikely’ he would face charges.
Baldwin instead shifted the blame to prop managers, claiming they did not check if the gun was loaded before handing it to him.
But today, New Mexico authorities announced that he will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death.
In an interview after the announcement with CNN, District Attorney Carmack-Altwies said: ‘There was such a lack of safety and safety standards on that set. There were live rounds on set, they were mixed in with dummy rounds.
‘Nobody was checking those or at least they weren’t checking them consistently.
‘They somehow got loaded into a gun, handed off to Alec Baldwin, he didn’t check it, he didn’t do what he was supposed to do to make sure he was safe or make sure anyone else was safe.
‘He pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and he pulled the trigger,’ she said.’
She said a ‘totality of the circumstances’ led to the decision, adding: ‘This was a really fast and loose set. And that nobody was doing their job.’
While it may have been an accident, she said Baldwin ‘doesn’t get a free pass’ because he’s a star.
‘Just because it’s an accident doesn’t mean it’s not criminal. They didn’t mean to do it, they didn’t have the intent to kill, but it happened anyway and it happened because of more than mere negligence.
‘We’ve talked to many actors, a-list and otherwise, that have said they always check their guns or they have someone check it in front of them.
‘An actor doesn’t get free pass just because they’re an actor. Everyone’s equal under the law.’
Mary Carmack-Altwies, the First Judicial District Attorney in New Mexico, is standing firm. She said in an interview with CNN today: ‘An actor doesn’t get free pass just because they’re an actor’ as she vowed to take the case to trial
Baldwin (left) with Hutchins and other actors from the film before the fatal accident
The gun fired by Baldwin on the ‘Rust’ set shooting
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed also vowed to fight the charges.
In a statement, her attorneys said: ‘Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.
‘These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts.
‘We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.’
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded the prop gun that killed Hutchins, face a maximum of 18 months in prison if convicted.
Dave Halls, the Assistant Director, has pleaded guilty to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Prosecutors say they are confident with the decision. It was welcomed by Halyna’s family, who issued a statement through their attorney.
‘We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges of involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life.
‘Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law.
‘We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.’
Halyna Hutchins was shot dead on October 21, 2021, by actor Alec Baldwin
In announcing the charges, special prosecutor Andrea Reeb said: ‘If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple.’
Baldwin has not been seen today, but his glamorous wife Hilaria put on a brave face for the school run shortly before the announcement.
‘The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set.
‘In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously, ‘ she added.
Prosecutors have not formally filed the charges – they will do so by the end of the month.
Alec Baldwin leaving La Colombe coffee store early in the morning in New York City, NY, USA on November 1, 2022. Baldwin vowed to fight the charges, calling them a ‘terrible miscarriage of justice’.
‘There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case. We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law,’ Carmack-Altwies added.
After that, the three defendants will have to make a first appearance but they will be allowed to do so virtually.
Baldwin, 64, accidentally shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western movie in October 2021.
In the 15 months that have passed, he emphatically denied responsibility for the accident, insisting he did not pull the trigger, despite a forensic FBI analysis of the prop gun he used concluding that he did.
Baldwin was sued by Halyna’s widower, Matthew, in 2022 but settled the lawsuit with an undisclosed sum.
He also made Matthew an executive producer on the film, which will resume production in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors have resisted criticism of the long delay in making a decision.
They say they were forced to wait for reports from both the FBI – which took ten months – and the local Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office – which took a year.
There was no press conference to announce the decision today.
Instead, the DA’s office issued a written statement to media which was also published online.