Alec Baldwin to Be Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter for ‘Rust’ Set Shooting

Prosecutors announced that they will charge actor Alec Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust.” The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, is facing the same charges.

Hutchins was killed in October 2021 when a prop gun Baldwin was holding fired a live round of ammunition, hitting Hutchins in the chest and wounding director Joel Souza.

The prosecution is accusing the pair of failing to take the necessary firearm safety precautions to avoid such a tragic accident. According to Reed’s lawyer, the set armorer believed that the rounds were dummy ammunition or “blanks.” 

Baldwin maintains that he did not pull the trigger and was unaware that the gun contained live rounds. However, an FBI forensics report stated, “the weapon could not be fired during FBI testing of its normal functioning without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked.”

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said that both Baldwin and Reed were responsible for checking the safety of the prop. In addition to starring in “Rust,” Baldwin is also credited as its producer.

“Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they’re going to handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone.”

She added, “nobody was checking those, or at least they weren’t checking them consistently.” 

“And then they somehow got loaded into a gun and handed off to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check it. He didn’t do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins, and he pulled the trigger.”

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Baldwin and Reed are facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The charges vary in severity and carry separate terms of punishment. 

In a statement issued by the district attorney, Baldwin and Reed will be “charged in the alternative,” which means the jury will have to decide whether or not they are guilty and, if so, on which charge.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. One of the charges carries additional punishment since a gun was involved, requiring a mandatory sentence of five years in prison. If convicted, they will only be sentenced to one count.

Carmack-Altwies told CNN that the charges would be formally filed by the end of the month. The two will not be arrested, but they will be summoned to appear in court. 

Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, said the charges were a “terrible miscarriage of justice.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.”

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Formal federal prosecutor Duncan Levin told The Daily Beast that the charges are a reflection of Baldwin’s celebrity status.

I think this is an example of a prosecutor trying to make an example out of somebody who is famous and in the public eye. Clearly, a tragic incident happened, and somebody’s responsible, but I think that charging Alec Baldwin with a crime has a lot to do with the fact that he is Alec Baldwin.”

Los Angeles entertainment attorney Tre Lovell told The Daily Beast that movie sets are “different from the real world” and that Hollywood’s “rules and protocols” outline who is responsible for what at every stage of production. Actors are not in charge of inspecting the safety of props. The Screen Actors Guild would never approve of actors being tasked with inspecting their own equipment. 

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said that the prosecution would have to overcome significant hurdles to win the case. Some of these include not knowing how live rounds made it onto the set in the first place and reconciling differing viewpoints on how much responsibility actors and crew members carry.

“Remember, this is a criminal case. You need all 12 jurors to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So I’m not saying that there’s no chance here, but this is a really difficult case for the prosecution.”

Brian Panish, a lawyer representing the Hutchins family, expressed gratitude for the prosecution bringing forward these charges. 

“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.”

Art Festival

Drive-In Art Festivals Are Keeping The Culture Alive In Prague

All around the world, movie theaters and other hubs for entertainment have indefinitely closed down amid the coronavirus pandemic. The people in Prague, however, have traveled back in time to rebirth the art of the drive-in movie theater as a socially distanced way of “going to the movies.” 

Karel Kratochvil is a Czech theater director who helped launch the plan to organize an arts and culture festival that residents could enjoy from the inside of their cars to protect themselves from potential exposure to Covid-19. The event itself is called Art Parking, and it’s set to remain open for the next two months; it’s opening was last week.

The festival itself will officially close at the end of June, and will continuously feature weeknight cinema screenings of popular movies, live theater productions, and even some live musical performances by local talents as well. 

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“The aim of the event is to give audiences an opportunity to engage in live performance art at a time when everything else is going online. We don’t want to stream ourselves to death. Live art needs a living spectator and vice versa. Although the lockdown is being eased in the Czech Republic, nobody knows when theaters and other cultural venues will be able to put on shows again. We wanted to help actors, singers and artists, as well as offering people a cultural experience after weeks spent at home,” said Dominika Antonie Pfister, one of the festival’s organizers.

The festival is managed by a company known as Art Prom and Hypnosis, who opened the festival last week, April 24th, with famous Czech juggling duo Bratři v tricku. The two performed on a raised stage in front of an audience of cars parked six feet apart from each other. The performance got interactive when the duo entered the parking lot audience to spray everyone with water guns. 

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Tickets for the festival itself are sold online on the official website. Once you arrive, you’ll be able to scan your ticket digitally through the car window to continue avoiding cross-contamination between you and the festival workers. Snacks and drinks can also be ordered through the same app that you use to purchase the ticket. Once you place an order a festival attendant will gather your pre-paid for snacks and deliver them to your car. 

Just like drive-in movie theaters from the 1960’s, every car gets a radio receiver upon arrival so that they can listen to the performances through their car stereos. So far, ticket sales have been selling like hotcakes, according to event organizers, despite the festival itself being in its initial stages of creation. 

Organizers are hoping to expand this festival to reach other Czech cities, such as Brno and Ostrava, because of the influx of positive reactions from audience members and online patrons alike. In such uncertain times, it’s important to remember the simpler things in life that keep us grounded, happy, and entertained. 

Watching movies or experiencing live theatrical/musical performances from the comfort of your own car while simultaneously feeling like you’re out living in the real world is as good as it’s going to get for now in terms of cultural engagement. So if you find yourself in an area of the world that’s also putting on some drive-in experiences to abide by social distancing policies, go out and experience life outside of quarantine for a few hours. Don’t forget to honk your horns at the end of every performance as well, that’s the drive-in version of an applause.