Actor Alec Baldwin pleaded not guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter relating to the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the western movie Rust.
According to court documents released Thursday, Baldwin, 64, waived his first court appearance, which was intended to inform the 30 Rock actor of his rights going forward.
Baldwin was released without bail and reportedly agreed to the court’s terms forbidding him from possessing any weapons (including firearms) or consuming alcohol. Baldwin is not allowed to contact any witnesses to the on-set shooting, apart from communication necessary to complete the filming of Rust. He is forbidden from discussing the accident.
Baldwin and prop armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were both charged last month with felony manslaughter in the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins.
In October 2021, Hutchins was struck and killed by a “live round” from a Colt .45 held by Baldwin during a rehearsal at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, N.M. Rust writer and director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident.
The shooting occurred as Baldwin — who is a Rust co-producer and the lead actor — rehearsed with what he believed to be a safe gun, provided to him by Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for the firearms on set. Baldwin has consistently denied responsibility for Hutchins’ death and said live rounds should never have been allowed onto the set. He claims he was unaware the gun was loaded when he fired.
If found guilty, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could serve 18 months in jail and be ordered to pay a US$5,000 fine.
Through his lawyer, Baldwin has previously said he “had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set.”
“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds,” Baldwin’s lawyer said. “We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Bodycam footage from Baldwin ‘Rust’ set shooting shows moments after incident
Gutierrez-Reed has argued that she verified the gun fired by Baldwin was loaded with dummy rounds before she passed it off to Rust’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who then handed it to Baldwin. Lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed have also vowed to fight the charges, blaming Halls for not allowing her to use a plastic gun during the fatal rehearsal scene.
Halls pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon and will serve a suspended sentence and six months of probation.
There has already been a string of civil lawsuits in reaction to Hutchins’ death, including an undisclosed settlement with her widower, Matthew Hutchins. As part of the deal, Matthew said that he will become executive producer of Rust.
The family members of Hutchins have also sued Baldwin under a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.