Actor Alec Baldwin to Face Criminal Charges over Rust Shooting

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Baldwin and Reed's lawyers said they intended to fight the charges in court.

Actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter over the 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed on a film set when he fired a prop gun in her chest, Santa Fe's District Attorney announced Thursday.

Baldwin had been rehearsing a scene for the Western film Rust when he shot Hutchins, who had been taken to the hospital but died shortly after.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the film's armourer, will also be charged over the October 2021 shooting that occurred at a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"Actor and producer Alec Baldwin and armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter," Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said. "I have determined that there is sufficient evidence."

"On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice," Carmack-Altwies added, noting that the charges would be filed by the end of January.

Both Baldwin and Reed face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 (£4,040) fine if convicted. They will be tried by a jury, prosecutors said.

Film director Joel Souza was also wounded in the shooting, but prosecutors said no charges would be filed in connection with that.

Rust's assistant director David Halls entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanour charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, prosecutors said. He will spend six months serving probation.

A lawyer for Hutchins' husband Matthew said he supported the filing of the charges. "It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law."

Baldwin's lawyer called the decision "a terrible miscarriage of justice" and Reed's lawyer said the announcement was the result of a "very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts".

Hutchins' shooting resulted in accusations of negligence and led to calls for better safety protocols on film sets.

An initial investigation into the shooting found there was "a degree of neglect", and the New Mexico Environment Department fined Rust's producers more than $136,000 for failing to enforce safety protocols.

After the shooting, Baldwin said the gun had misfired, adding that he did not pull the trigger and was unaware that it was loaded. "I don't know what happened on that set. I don't know how that bullet arrived in that gun. I don't know."

The 64-year-old has filed a lawsuit against several people involved with the film, including Reed and Halls, alleging that they both failed to check the gun carefully.

Rust's poduction had been scheduled to resume this year, with Hutchins on board as executive producer.