UPDATED WITH MORE DETAILS AND HANNAH GUTIERREZ-REED’S STATEMENT: Following New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies’ charging Alec Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of DP Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, the Oscar nominated actor’s attorney has spoken out.
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“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. 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,” said Alec Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel.
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“He didn’t do any of the things he was supposed to do to make sure the people around him were safe,” Carmack-Altwies said Thursday to CNN about Baldwin’s alleged negligence handling the prop gun after the charges were made public. “They didn’t exercise due caution …lack of care on that set,” she added.
“An actor doesn’t get a free pass just because they’re an actor,” the prosecutor went on to say, emphasizing Baldwin was being charged as both an actor and a producer on Rust.
Stating that there will be no attempt to arrest Baldwin, the D.A. also told the cable newser that Baldwin’s camp knew the charges were coming.
Carmack-Altwies also charged Rust armorer with two counts of involuntary manslaughter Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
“Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter,” said Gutierrez-Reed lawyer Jason Bowles this morning.
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
In response to the announcement by Carmack-Altwies, the attorney for the Hutchins family, Brian J. Panish, said, “We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life. Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”
Providing no comment this morning was the collective of Rust producers –comprised of Ryan Donnell Smith, Ryan Winterstern, Anjul Nigam, Nathan Klingher, Matt DelPiano and Baldwin. They settled with the Hutchins estate back in October in a wrongful death suit, Halyna Hutchins’ husband Matthew Hutchins becoming an EP on the revived production of Rust whenever cameras roll again.
The first charge of involuntary manslaughter carries an 18 month jail sentence and $5,000 fine in the state of New Mexico. The second charge of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, and requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5000 fine.
“If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the DA to the case. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”
Per the DA’s office, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative” with the two counts of manslaughter, meaning that a jury would decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty.
Assistant director David Halls, who had informed Baldwin that the prop gun which took Hutchins’ life was “cold gun”, signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The terms include a suspended sentence and six months of probation.
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