Santa Fe, NM – New details regarding the involuntary manslaughter case against Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin were released on Tuesday after prosecutors formally filed charges against him.
Baldwin and now-former “Rust” Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have both been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot by Baldwin on the set of the film in 2021, according to CNN.
Prosecutors alleged in court documents that the information Baldwin provided during media interviews was inconsistent with information he gave investigators in the wake of the shooting, ABC News reported.
“Many media interviews and law enforcement interviews were conducted by Baldwin, and he displayed very inconsistent accounts of what happened during the incident when firing the gun that killed Hutchins,” Investigator Robert Shilling noted in the probable cause affidavit.
Baldwin has insisted he never pulled the trigger on the gun, but video and photos from the set “clearly show Baldwin, multiple times, with his finger inside of the trigger guard and on the trigger, while manipulating the hammer and while drawing, pointing, and holstering the revolver,” according to Shilling.
According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) forensic report, the .45 Colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver Baldwin was holding at the time of the fatal shooting could not have fired without someone pulling the trigger, ABC News reported.
The investigator further noted that Baldwin, the film’s primary producer, was aware Gutierrez-Reed had been hired by the production company as the lead armorer even though she lacked credentials showing she was qualified for the position, according to ABC News.
Gutierrez-Reed had “no certification or certifiable training, or union ‘card’ for this practice,” Shilling added.
She was also hired as an assistant prop master for the film, which split her attention between two roles, ABC News reported.
Court documents alleged Baldwin “violated industry standards and practices by allowing this reckless and generally prohibited practice, resulting in reckless action(s) taking place prior to and on the day of the shooting.”
Shilling further concluded Baldwin “failed to act to mitigate or correct the reckless safety violations, neither in his capacity as actor nor producer,” ABC News reported.
Prosecutors said Baldwin also allegedly blew off the firearms training session Gutierrez-Reed tried to conduct prior to the shooting, according to CNN.
“A training session for at least an hour or more in length was scheduled, but the actual training consisted of only approximately 30 minutes as according to (armorer Hannah Gutierrez) Reed, Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training,” the filing read.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, issued a statement on Jan. 19 declaring the prosecution of his client as “a terrible miscarriage of justice,” CNN reported.
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set,” Nikas said. “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
With regards to the charge filed against Gutierrez-Reed, Shilling alleged her “deviation from known standards, practice and protocol directly caused the fatal death of Hutchins,” according to ABC News.
The armorer failed to correct Baldwin’s “dangerous” safety violations, to include not stepping in when he pointed the gun at other people with his finger on the trigger and not insisting Baldwin participate in proper firearm training, ABC News reported.
She also allowed the film’s first assistant director, David Halls, to handle the gun unsupervised and failed to ensure the gun used during the rehearsal scene wasn’t real, according to the filing.
Gutierrez-Reed even left the set altogether prior to the fatal shooting, ABC News reported.
“Her absence from the set allowed the reckless behavior to happen and continue, resulting in the fatal shooting,” Shilling alleged.
It was also Gutierrez-Reed’s job to make sure there was no live ammunition on the set, ABC News reported.
Investigators recovered five live rounds after the fatal shooting, not including the one that killed Halyna Hutchins.
Shilling said in court documents that as the film’s armorer, Gutierrez-Reed “should have caught this live ammunition on set but put everyone on the Rust set in danger by failing to do her job,” ABC News reported.
Todd Bullion and Jason Bowles, the attorneys representing Gutierrez-Reed, issued a joint statement on Tuesday vowing to “fight these charges,” and noted the “expect that a jury will find Hannah not guilty,” ABC News reported.
“The filed probable cause statement reveals that the district attorney has completely misunderstood the facts and has reached the wrong conclusions,” Bullion and Bowles said.
“Hannah pleaded to provide more firearms training. She was denied and brushed aside. Hannah asked to be able to perform her armorer duties more for safety reasons. She was told by production to focus on props. Hannah asked Halls if they could use a plastic gun for the rehearsal scene and he said no, wanting a ‘real gun.’ Hannah asked to be called back into the church if Baldwin was going to use the gun at all and Halls failed to do that,” they wrote, according to ABC News.
“The tragedy of this is had Hannah just been called back into the church by Halls, she would have performed the inspection and prevented this tragedy,” Bullion and Bowles declared.
Gutierrez-Reed and Baldwin were each charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in order for a jury to ultimately determine which of the two counts is most appropriate, CNN reported.
They will only be sentenced on one count if they are convicted.
Both of the counts carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail, CNN reported.
A firearm enhancement could be added to one of the counts, which would up the maximum prison term to five years.
Halls has already agreed to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors on a negligent use of a deadly weapon charge, according to his attorney, Lisa Torraco.
Under the terms of the agreement – which was signed on Jan. 18 and is still pending a judge’s approval – Halls would plead no contest to the misdemeanor offense, ABC News reported.
Torraco said she and Halls were “disappointed” that prosecutors opted to charge him, but said they are content with the terms of the agreement.
“We believe that criminally he should have been completely exonerated,” she told ABC News. “But we are happy with the resolution that she did propose, and that is the petty misdemeanor negligent use of a weapon.”
With the charges now formally filed, prosecutors said each defendant will be issued a summons for their preliminary court hearings, during which a judge will determine whether probable cause exists to push forward with the case.
“Today we have taken another important step in securing justice for Halyna Hutchins,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement to CNN after the charges were formally filed on Tuesday. “In New Mexico, no one is above the law and justice will be served.”
Baldwin, co-producer and star of the film, insisted during an interview with ABC News in 2021 that he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the “prop” gun he was holding when it discharged and fatally shot 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.
The 64-year-old actor said he had “no idea” how the fatal incident occurred.
In a lawsuit field on Nov. 11, 2022, Baldwin accused numerous members of the film crew of negligence for giving him the loaded firearm, The New York Times reported.
Baldwin named Seth Kenney, the film’s primary supplier of ammunition and firearms; Sara Zachry, who was in charge of the movie’s props; Halls, who handed him the revolver and assured him it was a “cold gun;” and Gutierrez-Reed in the lawsuit, The New York Times reported.
The suit accused Gutierrez-Reed of failing to carefully check the gun and the rounds it contained, and blamed Halls for not verifying the gun was safe before declaring it was and handing it off to Baldwin.
Zachry was negligent by failing to ensure the firearms and ammunition on the set were safe, according to the lawsuit.
“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun,” Nikas wrote in the suit, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“Gutierrez-Reed failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully, Halls failed to check the gun carefully and yet announced the gun was safe before handing it to Baldwin, and Zachry failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly offset and was a safety risk to those around her,” Nikas added. “Baldwin did not know and had no reason to know any of these facts. But Cross Defendants did.”
The defendants named in the suit have all denied responsibility for the fatal shooting, The New York Times reported.
Baldwin’s lawsuit touched on the negative impact the incident has had on Baldwin’s career, to include being fired from several jobs and being passed over for various other opportunities, according to the paper.
But he acknowledged that his hardships pale in comparison to the losses suffered by Halyna Hutchins’ family and “Rust” producer Joel Souza, who was wounded in the shooting.
“Hutchins lost her life, and her young child lost his mother,” the suit read, according to The New York Times. “Producer Joel Souza was shot in the shoulder and has suffered physical and emotional pain.”
“Though by no means comparable, Baldwin must live with the immense grief, and the resulting emotional, physical, and financial toll, caused by the fact that Cross-Defendants’ negligent conduct, assurances, and supervision put a loaded weapon in his hand and led him, Hutchins, and everyone else on set to believe that his directed use of the weapon was safe,” the filing read.
The lawsuit also alleged that Baldwin has been “wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy,” Entertainment Weekly reported.
Halyna Hutchins’ family reached an undisclosed settlement with Baldwin and the “Rust” production company in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit in September of last year.
In addition to the undisclosed settlement, Halyna Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, will take over as an executive producer on the “Rust” film, CNN reported.