Baldwin movie set shooting

The trial for actor Alec Baldwin for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust began today in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with jury selection in the case.

Baldwin is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting of Hutchins, a charge the movie’s armorer, Hanna Guiterrez-Reed, was found guilty of back in March and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Hutchins was killed in October 2021 when Baldwin pointed a “prop gun” at Hutchins and pulled the trigger. The shot also injured the film’s director, Joel Souza.

Baldwin has said the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Hutchins, who was behind the camera. Baldwin said he was unaware the gun contained a live round and that he pulled back the hammer—not the trigger—and the gun fired.

At a pre-trial hearing on Monday, prosecutors received a setback when president Judge Mary Marlow Summer ruled that Baldwin’s role as a co-producer of the movie isn’t relevant to the trial and won’t be admissible as evidence. Prosecutors had hoped to highlight Baldwin’s safety obligations on the set as co-producer to bolster an alternative theory of guilt beyond his alleged negligent use of a firearm.

However, the prosecution did get some good news in the preliminary hearing, as the judge agreed to exclude from admissible evidence findings from a state workplace safety investigation that placed much of the blame on the film’s assistant director, shifting fault away from Baldwin. The judge also ruled that the prosecution could show graphic images from Hutchins’ autopsy, as well as from police lapel cameras during the treatment of her wounds.

While Judge Summer said in court that jury selection shouldn’t take more than one day and she expects opening arguments to begin on Wednesday, the prosecuting attorney in the case wasn’t so optimistic. “It is my guess that with this group of defense attorneys, that’s not gonna happen,” Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey said at the hearing.

If convicted of the charge, Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison, the same sentence handed to Guiterrez-Reed. In recorded jail phone conversations, Guiterrez-Reed said she would not testify in Baldwin’s upcoming criminal trial if subpoenaed and that she wants him to go to jail, too.

We’ll be following the trial closely and keep TTAG readers updated every step of the way.

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