Alec Baldwin has been indicted on manslaughter charges, while prosecutors are once again trying to blame the actor for the on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin, 65, was first charged in the case in January 2023. But the charges were dropped three months later after Baldwin’s defense team raised questions about whether his Colt .45 was functioning properly when fired.
Hutchins was preparing to shoot a scene with Baldwin at a farm near Santa Fe, NM, in October 2021 when the gun went off. Baldwin maintained that he did not pull the trigger.
If convicted, Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison.
“We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, said in a statement Friday.
Two special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, sent the gun for further forensic testing last summer. His experts, Lucien and Michael Haag, rebuilt the gun that broke during FBI tests and concluded that the gun could only be fired by pulling the trigger.
“This fatal incident was the result of manually pulling the hammer fully rearward and into the cocked position and then at some point pulling or pressing the trigger rearward,” the report concluded. “Although Alec Baldwin has repeatedly denied pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings, and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently for the evidence gun’s fully cocked or retracted hammer to be released.”
Morrissey and Lewis said in October that they planned to take the case to a grand jury within two months and that “additional facts” had come to light that pointed to Baldwin’s guilt.
At the time, Nikas said the decision was “unfortunate”.
“It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy turned into this misguided prosecution,” Nikas said. “We will respond to all accusations in court”
The film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, will appear in court on February 21 on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Gutierrez Reed accidentally loaded Baldwin’s gun with a real bullet that was supposed to contain only dummies. It remains unclear how on-set live tours were confused with fake tours.
Hutchins’ widow, Matthew Hutchins, filed a wrongful death lawsuit shortly after the shooting, but settled in October 2022. The agreement included insurance funds and a portion of the film’s profits being provided for the benefit of the couple’s then-9-year-old son. his mother was killed.
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The film has since been completed with additional shooting in Montana and is awaiting distribution.
During the settlement, Matthew Hutchins stated that he did not blame Baldwin for the shooting.
“I have no interest in making accusations or attributing blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” Hutchins said. “We all believe that Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. “I’m grateful that producers and the entertainment community came together to commemorate Halyna’s latest work.”
But when Baldwin was first charged with involuntary manslaughter a few months later, Hutchins’ attorney said the charges were justified.
“We support the charges, will cooperate fully with this investigation, and fervently hope that the justice system works to protect the public and hold those who break the law accountable,” attorney Brian Panish said in a statement at the time.
Early prosecutors Mary Carmack-Altwies and Andrea Reeb held Baldwin responsible not only for pulling the trigger, but also for a series of management errors that led to loosening safety standards on the set. But the New Mexico division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded that Baldwin — although he was a producer of the film — was not in a position of management authority and was not guilty of lack of oversight.
First assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest last March to a misdemeanor weapons charge. He was given six months unsupervised probation.