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20 Jan, 2024 16:37

Alec Baldwin faces fresh charges over deadly shooting

The Emmy Award-winning actor fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a film set in 2021
Alec Baldwin faces fresh charges over deadly shooting

A grand jury in the US State of New Mexico on Friday issued a fresh manslaughter charge against the actor Alec Baldwin following the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the movie ‘Rust’ in 2021. Previous charges against the actor were dropped in April last year, just two weeks before a criminal trial was due to begin.

During rehearsals for the western drama in October 2021, a Colt .45 pistol held by Baldwin discharged and fatally shot the 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins and injured the film’s director, Joel Souza. Baldwin, who also served as a producer on the movie, told authorities that he did not pull the trigger but admitted to having pulled back the hammer before it fired.

Baldwin also maintained that he was not at fault for Hutchins’ death because he was unaware that the firearm was loaded with live rounds because no live ammunition was permitted to be on set.

The initial charge was dismissed last year by special prosecutors after analysis determined that the firearm may have been modified and that it had likely fired as a result of a malfunction.

However, a secondary analysis performed in August found that, while Baldwin denied pulling the trigger, “given the tests, findings, and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

The new analysis was presented to a grand jury in Santa Fe on Thursday, prompting a one-count indictment against Baldwin on Friday – exactly one year after the first manslaughter charge was issued.

If convicted, he faces up to 18 months in prison. The actor’s legal representatives told British state broadcaster the BBC that they “look forward to our day in court.” Baldwin, who has spoken of his “shock and sadness” at Hutchins’ death, has said in court filings that he is struggling to find acting work following the shooting.

Hutchins’ family issued a statement through their lawyer, Gloria Allred, saying that they have “always sought the truth about what happened on the day Halyna Hutchins was tragically shot and killed.” It added that “they continue to seek the truth in our civil lawsuit for them, and they also would like there to be accountability in the criminal justice system.”

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of weapons supervision on the set of ‘Rust,’ was previously issued with involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges over the shooting. Her trial is scheduled to begin in February.