Alec Baldwin formally charged with manslaughter following his fatal shooting on set

Twelve days after a first announcement, the American actor Alec Baldwin, author of a fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust in 2021, was formally charged with manslaughter and faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted of aggravated negligence, Santa Fe County New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced Tuesday

Alec Baldwin formally charged with manslaughter following his fatal shooting on set

Twelve days after a first announcement, the American actor Alec Baldwin, author of a fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust in 2021, was formally charged with manslaughter and faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted of aggravated negligence, Santa Fe County New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced Tuesday. The film's gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who had handled the weapon, is the subject of the same charge, said the prosecutor. "No one is above the law and justice will be served," she insisted in a statement.

On October 21, 2021, this shooting on a ranch in New Mexico had turned tragic when Alec Baldwin had activated a weapon supposed to contain only blank bullets, but whose very real projectile had killed the director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza. This rare news item had shocked Hollywood and had a strong impact, triggering calls to ban firearms on the sets, where the presence of live ammunition is in theory already prohibited.

If convicted of simple manslaughter, Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed could face up to 18 months in prison. But this sentence could be increased to a maximum of five years in prison in the event of aggravated negligence. The prosecutor announced her intention to prosecute on January 19. The actor's lawyer, Luke Nikas, then denounced a "terrible miscarriage of justice". "Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe that a live ammunition was in the gun, or anywhere else at the shooting location," he insisted.

Volley of civil lawsuits

Alec Baldwin, 64, best known for the 30 Rock series, has always said that he was assured that his weapon was harmless. Executive assistant David Halls, who gave him the weapon and told him it was not dangerous, will be accused of negligence when using a deadly weapon. Lawsuits that he chose not to contest. Mr. Baldwin also denies pulling the trigger, a claim doubted by many experts.

In August, the actor said he expected no one to be charged, telling CNN that he had hired a private detective to establish responsibilities in the case. The tragedy gave rise to a volley of civil lawsuits, emanating from several members of the team. In October, Alec Baldwin announced that he had reached an agreement ending the civil lawsuits brought by Ms Hutchins' family. Its amount was not disclosed.

At the time, the resumption of filming of Rust was also announced for early 2023. The widower of the late cinematographer, Matthew Hutchins, is to be promoted to executive producer of the film.

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