Alec Baldwin’s manslaughter trial over fatal film set shooting to begin today

by jestinez59

Alec Baldwin sits with his lawyer during a preliminary hearing in his involuntary manslaughter trial over a fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust. Alamy Stock Photo

New Mexico

The US actor has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter over the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust in 2021.

ALEC BALDWIN’S MANSLAUGHTER trial over the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set three years ago will begin today.

The US actor pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier in February over the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film.

Baldwin was pointing a prop gun at Hutchins during a scene rehearsal when it fired a live round, killing her and wounding the movie’s director.

The 66-year-old says he did not know the gun was loaded and did not pull the trigger. Prosecutors say he acted recklessly on set and has repeatedly changed his story since the tragic events of October 2021.

Baldwin’s lawyers have attempted to have the case thrown out, but the judge rejected a motion to dismiss it. 

The actor attended a final pretrial hearing on Monday, where Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled prosecutors could not argue Baldwin’s additional role as a producer on the film makes him more culpable.

Jury selection begins today, with opening arguments expected Wednesday.

The case in the southwestern state of New Mexico is due to last around 10 days.

The case has attracted global attention due to the Baldwin’s fame and the rarity of fatalities on the set of films.

“To watch Mr Baldwin’s conduct on the set of ‘Rust’ is to witness a man who has absolutely no control of his own emotions and absolutely no concern for how his conduct affects those around him,” special prosecutor Kari Morrissey has said.

If found guilty, Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison. It is not yet known if he plans to take the stand in his defense.

Live bullets are banned from movie sets, and Baldwin has said it was not his responsibility as an actor to check.

Filming of ‘Rust’ was halted by Hutchins’ death, but completed last year on location in Montana.

Earlier this year, the film’s armorer was convicted of manslaughter in the same courthouse, and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Her trial revealed arguments the prosecution will likely level against Baldwin.

At the time, armorer Hannah Gutierrez’s defense lawyers said Baldwin “violated some of the most basic gun safety rules you can ever learn,” including never pointing a gun at a person unless you intend to fire it.

“Alec Baldwin’s conduct and his lack of gun safety inside that church on that day is something that he’s going to have to answer for,” responded Morrissey.

“Not with you and not today. That’ll be with another jury, on another day.”

With reporting from © AFP 2024

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