Alec Baldwin charges are a sign that a criminal reckoning awaits him – but he remains defiant and even bullish | US News

It’s been 15 months since cinematographer Halina Hutchins was shot and killed on set in New Mexico.

A friend of his, with whom he worked on the film Rust, told me that he is “praying for accountability” and that mounting allegations of involuntary manslaughter suggest it may finally be on the way.

From the script assistant to the chief electrician, several civil suits and counter-suits have been filed by the cast and crew, as the game of blame and counter-blame is played out in a uniquely American way.

But the charges announced by the Santa Fe District Attorney are the first sign that a criminal reckoning may be in store. Alec Baldwin and the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reid, who was in charge of weapons on set.

Baldwin has admitted that he was holding the gun when he was shot. Hutchins was discharged but has always refused to pull the trigger.

However, his account contradicts what FBI investigators found. Police say they also spoke to other A-list actors as part of their investigation, who indicated they always check their guns for live bullets or ask someone else to do so. . This implies that Baldwin was remiss in not doing so.

“The gun was in his hand when he pulled the trigger and that was the critical action that killed Halina Hutchins,” Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Cormack Weiss told NBC.

“This was something that was more than just negligence, these people were acting carelessly, people were not doing their job, people were not following safety protocols, not following safety standards, all of those standards. violates that we all have to follow if we have a gun in our hands.”

Halina Hutchins, director of photography "rust"Pose for a selfie in this photo taken from social media.  Courtesy of HALYNAHUTCHINS via Instagram/via REUTERS This photo was provided by a third party.  Compulsory credit.  No resales.  No archives.
Helena Hutchins was shot and killed on the set of Rust in 2021.

Read more:
Alec Baldwin vows to fight Rust shooting charge.
The FBI says Baldwin pulled the trigger.
Highlights from Baldwin’s post-shooting interview

The film’s assistant director Dave Halls, who was in overall charge of weapons on the set and allegedly handed the gun to Baldwin, struck a plea deal with prosecutors, admitting that he had negligent possession of a deadly weapon. There is sufficient evidence to convict of use.

The decision to laser it, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid point out, focused investigators on the gun’s chain of custody, and who handled the weapon that day.

The announcement of the increased charges was welcomed by Mrs Hutchins’ family but the decision to charge Baldwin has proved controversial in wider Hollywood.

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Baldwin’s lawyers vow to fight.

Robert King, creator of the legal drama The Good Wife, tweeted, “Charging Alec Baldwin as a producer is one thing, but charging him as an actor misunderstands the chain of responsibility on a movie set. Is.” “If you’re charging the actor, you should charge the director, all the producers, the prop master, and many others.”

Baldwin is defiant and even edgy. “We will fight this and we will win,” his lawyer said in a statement.

He expressed his feelings in his first TV interview since the tragedy. At this point he remarked that “someone is guilty, but it is not me.”

There’s no suggestion he’s on the verge of reaching a settlement with prosecutors over the shooting, so there’s every chance he could go to a jury trial where he could face up to 18 months in prison if convicted. .

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