Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Shooting: What To Know About The Charges, Possible Prison Time & More

Alec Baldwin scored a big legal victory on April 20, 2023, when it was announced that the manslaughter charge against him would be dropped.

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  • Alec Baldwin is an actor known for his roles in It’s ComplicatedThe Departed, and more.
  • On Oct. 21, 2021, Alec was working on the set of the film, Rust, when the movie’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was fatally shot and killed by a prop gun.
  • Over one year after the incident, Alec was charged with involuntary manslaughter, to which he has pleaded not guilty to on Feb. 23, 2023.
  • A special prosecutor quit the case in March 2023, and it was a victory for the actor.
  • It was reported on April 20, 2023 that the manslaughter charge brought against Alec would be dropped.

30 Rock alum Alec Baldwin, 65, is a successful actor and producer known for starring in many hit films and TV shows including It’s ComplicatedThe Departed, and more. Despite his success, his life took a turn when the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, working on his movie, Rust, was fatally shot on Oct. 21, 2021. Amid the Apr. 20, 2023 news that the 65-year-old’s involuntary manslaughter charge was expected to be dropped after his not-guilty plea, here is everything to know about what happened to Halyna, Alec’s charges, the trial, and more below.

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Alec Baldwin in the film ‘Rust’ set to resume filming in spring 2023. (Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office/MEGA)

What Happened On The Set Of ‘Rust’?

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The set of the film ‘Rust’ in New Mexico. (Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office/MEGA)

The latest project for Alec is the film, Rust, in which he not only stars in but also is credited as one of the producers. A few of the actors who star in the movie alongside him include Supernatural’s Jensen AcklesVikings‘ Travis Fimmel, and Titanic actress Frances Fisher. During filming in New Mexico in Oct. 2021, Alec unfortunately fired a prop gun that held live rounds which, in turn, resulted in the death of Halyna. The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, is also being investigated in connection to the cinematographer’s tragic death.

“Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set of the western Rust, October 21, 2021, when an 911 caller reported a shooting on the set,” police said at the time, per DEADLINE. The late 42-year-old was transported via helicopter to New Mexico’s University of New Mexico Hospital where she subsequently died. The film’s director, Joel Souza, 49, also sustained injuries, however, he survived and was treated at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical facility.

Alec Baldwin’s Charges & Trial

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Halyna Hutchins was the cinematographer killed after being shot on the set of ‘Rust’ in Oct. 2021. (Courtesy of Hutchins Family/MEGA)

Over one year after the tragic incident, Alec was criminally charged on Jan. 19, 2023, for his involvement in the shooting. The producer was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, as disclosed by Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies. If the father-of-seven is found guilty on the first charge, including a misdemeanor negligent use of a firearm charge, he could face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The second charge also includes the same prison time and fine, however, it includes a firearm enhancement, which could add an additional five years in jail.

Although the firearm enhancement could’ve prolonged his jail time, D.A. Carmack-Altwies, has since downgraded the charges and removed the firearm enhancement altogether as of Feb. 20, 2023, per CNBC. The jail time has also been downgraded from a minimum of a “minimum of five years” to a “maximum of 18 months.” As a result, a spokesperson for the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, released a statement regarding the lessened charges. “In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the district attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ film set,” Heather Brewer‘s statement read.

Not only did the Emmy-nominated actor plead not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges, but he also “waived his first court appearance,” as reported by ABC News on Feb. 23, 2023. Alec and assistant director David Halls, were both set to appear in court “remotely” on Feb. 24, however, they both filed a waiver for their first court appearance, per the outlet. Finally, District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer set terms to Alec’s conditional release, including that, “he must not possess any firearms, not consume alcohol and have no contact with any potential witnesses unless it’s related to filming the movie.” Hannah’s hearing continued on Feb. 24.

Then, four days after pleading not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges, it was revealed on February 28 that Alec is being sued by three Rust crewmembers (Ross Addiego, Doran Curtin, and Reese Price), per TMZ. The court records obtained by the outlet revealed that they are taking legal action against the film’s producer for being “3 of 7 people n the church set the day the shooting happened.” In addition, the three film crew members alleged that the movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed “lacked essential experience.” Finally, the three are suing for “negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress” as they also claimed they were asked to “assist” after Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza were injured. The outlet concluded that they are asking for “unspecified damages.”

On March 14, 2023, The Daily Mail reported that special prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced she’d be leaving the case amid pressure from Alec’s attorney. Given that she personally investigated the incident for the Santa Fe district attorney’s office and found him (and others) responsible for Halyna’s death, her departure from the case is considered a win for the actor.

“It has become clear that the best way I can ensure justice is served in this case is to step down so that the prosecution can focus on the evidence and the facts, which clearly show a complete disregard for basic safety protocols led to the death of Halyna Hutchins,” she said, per the outlet. “I will not allow questions about my serving as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”

Alec’s attorney Luke Nikas had filed a motion in February to have her removed. “Ms. Reeb’s continued service as a special prosecutor in this case is unconstitutional,” he said at the time, arguing that she’s not eligible to be a special prosecutor because she was elected to the New Mexico house back in November. “The legal question is not a close one. She must be disqualified.”

Most recently, his lawyers confirmed to Variety that the prosecutors “are expected to drop manslaughter charges” against Alec as of Apr. 20, 2023. “We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” his lawyers, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in the statement to the outlet.

What Has Alec Said Since The Incident?

Shortly after the fatal incident took place, Alec sat down with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos in Dec. 2021, for an in-depth interview regarding the shooting. One of the major things that Alec revealed was that he was not to be held responsible for the “live bullet” in the prop gun. “Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he declared at the time. “Someone is ​responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”

Alec also added that he was not aware of what had occurred that tragic day on set. “I don’t know what happened on that set. I don’t know how that bullet arrived in that gun. I don’t know,” he continued. “But I’m all for doing anything that will take us to a place where this is less likely to happen again.” The interview took place in three parts, with the final interview airing on Dec. 2, 2021.

Who Else Was Charged?

Alec was not the only member of the Rust film team to be charged either, as David and Hannah also faced charges. On Jan. 31, 2023, the film’s armorer was also charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to ABC News, and as previously mentioned her hearing is set to take place on Feb. 24. David has since pleaded “no contest” in regard to the charge of “negligent use of a deadly weapon,” however, the plea agreement is still pending the judges approval.

“The District Attorney and the special prosecutor are fully focused on securing justice for Halyna Hutchins,” Brewer noted in a statement released Jan. 30, 2023. “The evidence and the facts speak for themselves.” On Jan. 19, 2023, Alec’s attorney Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel stated that Alec would fight the charges brought against him. “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win,” he said in a statement, obtained by HollywoodLife.

Halyna’s husband, Matthew Hutchins, released a statement regarding his wrongful death lawsuit against Alec and the film’s production company in Oct. 2022, via ABC News. “We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC. As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed,” Matthew said at the time. “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he added. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”

Rust is set to resume production and will commence filming sometime in spring 2023, per ABC News. The producers revealed earlier in Feb. 2023, that the movie will now be filmed in Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana, and that Joel will return to direct the project. Matthew will also join the crew as the movie’s executive producer and cinematographer Bianca Cline. Alec, David, and Hannah were not named among those returning to Rust.

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