Alec Baldwin Enters a Not Guilty Plea for Involuntary Manslaughter in Latest ‘Rust’ Case Charges

Alec Baldwin’s legal woes took a new turn as he pleaded not guilty to a fresh charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the tragic accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust.” The actor waived his right to an arraignment, a legal procedure where charges are formally presented. This development comes after Baldwin had previously entered a not guilty plea to an involuntary manslaughter charge in February 2023, but those charges were later dismissed by prosecutors in New Mexico in April 2023 before the case went to trial.

The latest legal twist emerged after new prosecutors took over the case following the dismissal of the charges. Subsequently, a grand jury voted to revive the criminal case against Baldwin and recommended charges related to involuntary manslaughter. The charges suggested by the grand jury included involuntary manslaughter due to the negligent use of a firearm – a charge that does not constitute a felony. The other charge was involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspect, classified as a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison.

A fresh indictment was brought against Baldwin on January 19, marking a second time he has been formally charged in connection with the fatal shooting incident on October 21, 2021. The accident occurred during the rehearsal of a scene for the film “Rust,” where Hutchins was fatally shot by a prop gun Baldwin was handling. The incident also resulted in injuries to the film’s director, Joel Souza. The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, also faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering in relation to the same incident. Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

David Halls, an assistant director on “Rust” who handed the weapon to Baldwin, previously accepted a plea deal. He was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence with unsupervised probation. The terms of his sentence included a $500 fine, 24 hours of community service, and a firearms safety class. Halls was charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon in connection to the shooting incident.

Last week, SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, issued a statement expressing support for Alec Baldwin and criticizing the decision by New Mexico prosecutors to re-charge the actor with involuntary manslaughter. The union defended Baldwin, emphasizing that actors are not expected to be firearms or weapons experts. Instead, they rely on the guidance of multiple professionals responsible for ensuring the safe and accurate operation of firearms on set.

The tragic events surrounding the “Rust” shooting have not only raised legal questions but also sparked broader conversations within the film industry about on-set safety practices and the responsibilities of various crew members.