American actor Alec Baldwin, author of a fatal blow on the set of the film Rust in 2021, was charged with manslaughter and faces up to five years in prison if convicted of gross negligence, a prosecutor announced Tuesday.
The film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who handled the gun, is facing the same charge, Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said.
“No one is above the law and justice will be served,” she insisted in a statement.
On October 21, 2021, this filming on a farm in New Mexico (southwest) turned tragic when Mr. Baldwin had activated a gun that was supposed to contain only blanks, but from which a very real shell had killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins. 42-year-old and injured director Joel Souza.
This rare news shocked Hollywood and had a strong impact, prompting calls to ban firearms in groups, where the presence of live ammunition is theoretically already prohibited.
If convicted of simple murder, Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed face up to 18 months in prison. But this penalty can be increased to five years in prison in case of gross negligence.
The prosecutor announced her intention to prosecute on January 20. The actor’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, then denounced a “terrible miscarriage of justice”.
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe that live ammunition was in the gun, or anywhere else at the scene of the shooting,” he insisted.
Alec Baldwin, 64, best known for the series 30 Rock, he always said he was assured his gun was harmless.
Assistant director David Halls, who gave him the gun, informing him it was not dangerous, will be charged with negligence in the use of a deadly weapon. The lawsuit he chose not to contest.
Mr. Baldwin also denies pulling the trigger, a claim many experts doubt.
In August, the actor said he expected no one would be charged, telling CNN he had hired a private detective to determine responsibility in the case.
The drama sparked a flurry of civil lawsuits, stemming from several members of the team.
In October, Alec Baldwin announced that he had reached a settlement to end civil lawsuits filed by M’s family.ME Hutchins. Its amount was not disclosed.
At that time, the resumption of filming Rust was also announced for early 2023. The late filmmaker’s widow, Matthew Hutchins, will be promoted to executive producer of the film.