(ReliableNews.org) – On January 19, Alec Baldwin was indicted by a grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter. The charges are related to the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust” in New Mexico. The famed actor has now entered a plea in the case.
On January 31, Baldwin entered a plea of not guilty. His legal team also waived his right to an arraignment in Sante Fe’s First Judicial District Court. The waiver allows the 65-year-old to remain free without posting a bond.
According to Reuters, prosecutor Kari Morrissey stated in a court filing that evidence, including photos, showed weapons handler Hannah Gutierrez brought the live round that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza onto the set. Gutierrez handled the pistol, then assistant director David Halls picked it up and gave it to Baldwin, telling him the gun was “cold.” That meant there were no live rounds in the weapon. The actor then began rehearsing a scene with Souza, Hutchins, and others when the weapon fired.
Prosecutors will now have to prove that Baldwin acted with “total disregard or indifference for the safety of others” or that he was guilty of using the gun negligently. Even though Baldwin was told the gun did not have any live rounds, he allegedly pointed it at the victims. A jury will have to decide whether that was negligent. Under ordinary circumstances, it might be an easy decision, but they were on the set of a movie, where that standard doesn’t usually apply.
Authorities dropped the charges against Baldwin the first time he was charged. He maintained he didn’t pull the trigger and there were questions about whether the weapon was modified to fire on its own. An independent forensic analysis of the weapon commissioned by the prosecution reportedly found he would have had to have pulled the trigger. However, before the expert looked at the weapon, the FBI broke it during the agency’s own testing. Nonetheless, prosecutors brought the case to a grand jury as a result of the report.
Gutierrez is set to go to trial on February 21 in a separate case. She was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
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