Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty after shooting


The actor Alec Baldwin, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a cinematographer on the set of the film reststill pleads not guilty.

Baldwin (65) was charged in January for his part in a fatal shooting on the set of the Western movie, during which the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was shot dead and the director of the movie, Joel Souza, was seriously injured with a Colt .45 -firearm.

Shockwaves were sent through Hollywood in 2021 when it came to light that Baldwin, a producer of the movie and actor in the lead role, presumably pulled the trigger while handling the firearm.

However, he strongly denies that he fired the shots and maintains that he was not responsible for Hutchins’ death. He also argues that the firearm should not have been loaded with live ammunition from the outset.

Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, Baldwin’s legal representatives, asked for a speedy hearing. Baldwin was due to appear virtually in the district court in Santa Fé, Mexico on Thursday, but his lawyers filed a waiver that also pleads his innocence.

The initial charge of manslaughter against the actor was dropped in April last year due to what state prosecutors described as “new facts that require further investigation and forensic analysis”.

However, should a jury now find him guilty, he faces a prison sentence of up to 18 months.

He also faces two alternative charges of manslaughter; one involving the negligent use of a firearm, as well as one of failing to act prudently in the handling of a firearm.

He is also being charged in his capacity as an actor, and not as a producer of the movie.

According to the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA, the charges are based on the “incorrect evaluation of the actual tasks of an actor”.

“An actor’s job is not to be a firearms expert. Firearms are provided for use on a film set under the supervision of various experts who are directly responsible for the safety and accurate handling of the firearm.”

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s gunsmith, was responsible for supplying and maintaining the weapons on set rest. She will appear in court later this month on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

Dave Halls, the film’s security coordinator and assistant director who handed the firearm to Baldwin when the incident occurred, agreed to a plea deal with the state and was sentenced to six months’ probation.

The filming of rest, which was brought to a halt by the tragedy, resumed last year. The cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, has already reached a settlement agreement with the producers of the movie and has also acted as executive producer for the project.

Souza also returned to the set and said it will be “bittersweet” to finish the movie and that the cast and crew of the movie are “committed to finishing what Halyna and I started”.

Baldwin is still out on bail.

Additional source: AFP