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Final hearing Monday ahead of Alec Baldwin manslaughter trial

The case stems from the 2021 shooting on the movie set of "Rust," in which Baldwin is accused of firing a live round that killed one person and injured another.
Alec Baldwin
Posted at 9:20 AM, Jul 08, 2024

Alec Baldwin faces a critical juncture in his manslaughter trial amid intense scrutiny stemming from an accidental shooting on the set of the movie “Rust.”

A New Mexico judge will decide at a pretrial hearing on Monday what evidence, testimony and arguments will be allowed during Baldwin's manslaughter trial, which is set to begin Tuesday with jury selection. Opening statements are expected as early as Wednesday.

The trial stems from an incident that unfolded on Oct. 21, 2021, during a rehearsal on the outskirts of Santa Fe when a .45 caliber revolver Baldwin was handling discharged a live round, fatally striking the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and injuring director/writer Joel Souza.

Since then, the aftermath has been marked by legal battles, wrongful death lawsuits and a previous trial that ended with the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, serving an 18-month sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter but acquitted on charges that she tampered with evidence.

Related story: Alec Baldwin faces new lawsuit for ‘Rust’ shooting from victim’s family

Central to the upcoming trial are allegations that Baldwin, as both the lead actor and a producer, failed to adhere to industry safety standards, court documents stated.

Prosecutors argue Baldwin disregarded established protocols, including inadequate firearm training, and allowed unsafe conditions on set, ultimately leading to the tragic outcome. They contend Baldwin was negligent in handling the firearm, contradicting his claim that the gun discharged without him pulling the trigger.

In response, Baldwin’s defense asserts that safety on set rested with professionals like Gutierrez and the assistant director, David Halls, who had been entrusted with ensuring the firearms were safe and properly managed. In a cross-complaint filed by Baldwin’s defense, they argue that neither Baldwin nor others present were aware that live ammunition had been loaded into the gun, believing it to be safe for use.

The trial carries significant consequences for Baldwin, who faces the possibility of up to 18 months in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. As the legal proceedings commence, all eyes are on Baldwin and the courtroom drama that will unfold, seeking answers and accountability for the tragic events that have profoundly impacted all involved in the production of “Rust.”

This story was originally published by Beth Hemphill at CourtTV.com.