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.”

Superhero Shield

Captain America Actress Charged With Second Degree Murder

Captain America: The First Avenger actress Mollie Fitzgerald has been arrested in Kansas City and charged with second degree murder after she allegedly killed her mother.

Fitzgerald’s mother – Patricia ‘Tee’ Fitzgerald, 68 – was discovered inside her Olathe home on 20 December 2019 and had been stabbed to death by a single stab wound. Her daughter has been jailed at the Johnson County Jail on a $500,000 bond. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney as yet.

Police have confirmed that “a 38 year old white female, known to the victim, was contacted on scene and transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. This case remains under investigation by the Olathe Police Department.”

As well as acting, Mollie Fitzgerald was trying to make a name for herself as a filmmaker, however, she was most noted for her role as Stark Girl in the 2011 movie. She also worked as Joe Johnston’s assistant director and the two worked together again in 2014 on the crime thriller The Lawful Truth which was both written and directed by Fitzgerald with Johnston starring. They also collaborated on The Creeps and Fitzgerald is currently working on the documentary Fireball.

While filming the Avengers film – a movie that took over $370 million at the box office worldwide – Fitzgerald said that “being a part of this production has been one of the best experiences of my life.”

Fitzgerald’s most recent on screen work was in 2018 when she appeared in Trouble Is My Business.

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Patricia Fitzgerald had spent the last few decades living in Houston with her husband of 40 years Terry – who was described in her obituary as the “love of her life” – and was in moving back to Kansas City.

Her brother Gary Hunziker confirmed he was not aware of the details surrounding her death stating “we were shocked. It doesn’t matter the circumstances – the loss of a sister is what it’s all about.”

Police have confirmed that they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident confirming that “everyone involved in the incident has been identified.”

Fitzgerald is not the first entertainer to be involved in a homicide case.

In May 2014 actor Michael Jace, who appeared in The Shield, was arrested for the murder of his wife who he shot in front of their two children and was convicted of second-degree murder in 2016. While in 1993 both Snoop Dogg and his bodyguard were arrested over the fatal shooting of rival gang member Philip Woldemariam. While Snoop’s bodyguard was acquitted claiming he shot Woldemariam in self-defense, it was not until 1996 that Snoop was also acquitted.

Police charged Soprano’s actor Lillo Brancato Jr. with second-degree murder after an off duty police officer was fatally shot in 2005. Although he was acquitted of murder he was eventually jailed for 10 years in prison for attempted burglary, being released on parole in 2013.

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Back in 1979 Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious was arrested and subsequently charged with stabbing to death his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Police found Vicious slumped in the hallway in a drug-induced haze and he admitted to the murder. He was released on bail and died seven weeks later after overdosing on heroin at a party.

In 2010 celebrity chef Juan-Carlos Cruz was charged with soliciting murder after it was claimed he had paid two homeless people to kill his wife. Cruz pled no contest to the charge however he was charged to nine years in prison, although it is expected that he will only spend between four and five years behind bars as Cruz had not committed a violent felony.

Record producer Phil Spector was found guilty of the shooting of Lana Clarkson in 2003. Despite claiming that Spector had witnessed Clarkson committing suicide, Spector was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in jail. Due to the first trial ending in a hung jury during 2007, Spector lived for six years on bail before finally being put away in 2008.

One of the most famous cases in recent times was that of Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Although Pistorius admitted firing through a bathroom door he continued to claim he thought there was an intruder in the house. However Pistorius was finally jailed for six years for murder in July 2016.

Finally, NFL star O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Despite a high profile case dubbed ‘The Trial of the Century’, Simpson was found not guilty in 1995. However Simpson and Goldman’s families subsequently filed a civil suit against him and he was ordered to pay them $33.5 million for the wrongful deaths in 1997. Simpson continues to deny he had anything to do with the murders that split the nation with just as many American citizens believing him guilty as those who believe he is innocent. The case has been listed as unsolved.