The Public Prosecution Service (OM) in the US state of New Mexico, where the shooting took place in October 2021, announced yesterday that Alex Baldwin is being charged with ‘involuntary manslaughter’.
Freely translated into Dutch, that means death by fault: someone dies because someone else does not do something. That often doesn’t happen on purpose, but the other person is to blame.
Up to 18 months in prison
The OM reports that Baldwin will not be arrested. However, he must show up at court cases, where a jury and judge will determine whether the actor is guilty.
In addition to Baldwin, gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has also been charged, she was responsible for the firearms on the film set. The two risk a maximum of 18 months in prison and a fine of 5,000 dollars (4,600 euros).
Baldwin himself has always maintained his innocence. Witness accounts vary as to what exactly happened on the Rust film set. The actor allegedly pointed a gun, which he thought was unloaded, at camerawoman Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin says he pulled back the revolver’s hammer but never pulled the trigger. Hutchins was hit in the chest and died of her injuries shortly afterwards. “Someone is responsible for this, but I’m not,” Baldwin said several months after the shooting.
According to the BBC, the released documents from the OM also state that Baldwin showed ‘extremely reckless behaviour’. For example, he would have been busy with his phone during firearms training and violated other protocols.
“Baldwin knew the first and most important rule: never point a gun at someone you don’t intend to shoot,” one of the prosecutors wrote in a statement.
Baldwin and the film producers settled last fall with Matthew Hutchins, the widower of the deceased camerawoman. Hutchins then believed that no one is to blame for his wife’s death and spoke of a “terrible accident”. He said he was grateful that the film continued production to pay tribute to his wife.
A lawyer for Baldwin speaks to The New York Times of a “miscarriage of justice” and says he will fight the charges. Actor Baldwin is still starring in Rust, which is “on track” to be completed.
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