In breaking news, veteran Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter relating to a 2021 fatal movie set shooting that tragically killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the director, Joel Souza. 

Baldwin, who served as both actor and producer of the upcoming Western, Rust – along with Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the Armorer who oversaw firearms on the set – will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to a year and a half in jail and a $5,000 fine. Because the offence was committed with a gun, there could also be an inclusion of a provision that could result in a mandatory five years in prison.

Alec Baldwin
Associated press

Since 2021, Baldwin has defended himself, insisiting he was not culpible for the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer, which occured on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His mainitaning of innocence has widely been seen as an effort to preserve his reputation and career. “If your name becomes associated with something, nobody wants to work with you anymore — nobody,” Baldwin told a dectective in a private police report.

While Baldwin was holding the gun during a rehearsal when it discharged, subsequently killingHutchins and wounding Souza, he told detectives throughout the criminal investigation that he had been assured the gun he was rehearsing with that day did not contain live ammunition. Since the incident occurred, Baldwin has presented for an extensive television interview with ABC News, has said he should not be held financially liable in the case and has also sued the Armorer and crew members for handing him a loaded gun.

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set,” said Luke Nikas, a lawyer for Baldwin, via a statement. “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.”

But yesterday, prosecutors in the case said they would charge him with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, saying they believed he had a duty to ensure the revolver was safe to handle.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement released Thursday morning. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

“We’re trying to definitely make it clear that everybody’s equal under the law, including A-list actors like Alec Baldwin,” said Andrea Reeb, a special prosecutor appointed by Santa Fe County’s district attorney, via an interview.  “And we also want to make sure that the safety of the film industry is addressed and things like this don’t happen again.”

While the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins has influenced industry talks over safety provisions in film crew union contracts with Hollywood producers, the SAG-AFTRA – the union representing film, television and radio workers –  said in a statement that the death of Ms. Hutchins was a “preventable” tragedy but that it was “not a failure of duty or a criminal act on the part of any performer.”