SANTA FE, N.M. – The cinematographer’s tragic death on the set of a Western movie has put actor Alec Baldwin back in the spotlight, facing a new involuntary manslaughter charge. The grand jury recently indicted Baldwin in connection with the fatal 2021 shooting of Halyna Hutchins in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The incident occurred during a rehearsal for the movie “Rust,” when a gun held by Baldwin went off, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
After initially dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charge last year, prosecutors were able to revive the case through a new analysis of the gun involved in the shooting. The grand jury’s one-page indictment accuses Baldwin of causing Hutchins’ death through either negligence or “total disregard or indifference” for safety. In response, Baldwin’s defense attorneys have indicated that they plan to fight the charge, which could lead to a potential prison sentence of up to 18 months.
Baldwin is now facing the next steps in the legal process, which could involve entering a formal plea and setting the stage for trial preparation. The indictment provides prosecutors with two alternative standards for the involuntary manslaughter charge, one of which is based on the negligent use of a firearm.
As a co-producer of “Rust,” prosecutors may also address Baldwin’s safety obligations in his role at the top of the production hierarchy. The company, Rust Movie Productions, has already paid a fine to state workplace safety regulators for safety failures on set.
Meanwhile, separate trials are being prepared for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering. This trial, scheduled for February, is expected to proceed independently and could provide insights for Baldwin’s defense team. The case has been assigned to a specialist in criminal cases, state District Court Judge T. Glenn Ellington.
Throughout the legal process, potential witnesses, including crew members and production staff, will play a significant role in the proceedings. It is worth noting that a grand jury indictment does not guarantee the prosecution’s success in court. As the legal battle unfolds, Baldwin and his defense team are preparing to vigorously contest the charges.