Alec Baldwin’s attorney is speaking out after criminal charges were announced against the actor for his role in the 2021 death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.
On Thursday, after New Mexico district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies charged Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, Baldwin’s lawyer issued a statement and described the DA’s decision as a “miscarriage of justice.”
“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,” Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, 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.”
The statement came after a lengthy investigation from the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which announced the charges for the October 2021 shooting Thursday morning. Along with Baldwin, the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will also face involuntary manslaughter charges, while first assistant director David Halls was hit with a negligent use of a deadly weapon charge; Halls has already agreed to plead guilty to that count.
“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” prosecutor Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Carmack-Altwies also appeared on CNN and said that neither Baldwin nor Gutierrez-Reed “exercised due caution” on the set. “An actor doesn’t get a free pass just because they’re an actor,” she added.
Armorer Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer also spoke out against the charges and defended their client, saying that she “will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
The charges will be formally filed later this month, at which point each defendant will receive a summons to appear at the first hearing; the District Attorney’s Office noted that the defendants could appear virtually at the hearing.
Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded during a rehearsal on the set of Rust on Oct. 21, 2021. The incident occurred when Baldwin inadvertently discharged a prop gun that had been loaded with a live round. There have been numerous investigations into the incident by various government agencies, from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office to the FBI.
Though these are the first criminal charges to be brought in connection to Hutchins’ death, the shooting has prompted several civil lawsuits (as well as some fines). Most notably, Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin, Rust producer Ryan Donnell Smith, rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls, prop master Sarah Zachary, and “armorer mentor” Seth Kenney.