Court date set and fresh details released following Alec Baldwin's ...
Prosecutors have claimed the star was distracted during firearm training. Photo / Getty Images
A court appearance date has been set for Alec Baldwin and now fresh details in the involuntary manslaughter case have been released including claims the actor missed firearm training before filming for Rust started.
AP has reported the star and film-set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are to appear by videoconference before Santa Fe-based District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer in late February.
With several weeks before the court date, the defendants may provide a formal response to the felony charges and address claims made by prosecutors including that the star missed firearm training before he began filming for the western film and while completing a catch-up session he was “distracted”.
The 64-year-old actor-and-producer was formally charged with involuntary manslaughter yesterday following the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of the western in October 2021, and court documents claim he failed to attend a session on handling guns before filming started, and wasn’t giving a brief on-set instruction session his full attention.
According to the district attorney’s office’s special investigator Robert Shilling’s probable cause filing - which was obtained by People magazine - he wrote Alec “was not present for required firearms training prior to the commencement of filming.”
The documents went on to point out that Gutierrez-Reed - who has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter but denies any wrongdoing - stated in her deposition that the actor had “limited training in firearms and how to check his own firearm as to whether it was unloaded or loaded”, and while he did attend a 30-minute training session on set, he appeared “distracted and [was] talking on his cell phone to his family during the training.”
Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza injured when a prop gun held by the Boss Baby discharged a live round during rehearsal, and the filing documents criticised Baldwin for not behaving like he “assume[d] the gun was loaded”.
They stated: “Baldwin directly pointed a firearm at Hutchins and Souza. Whether guided by [Gutierrez-Reed’s] directions or not, Baldwin knew the first rule of gun safety is never point a gun at someone you don’t intend on shooting.
“In addition, always assume a gun is loaded. Had Baldwin performed the required safety checks with the armourer, Gutierrez-Reed, this tragedy would not have occurred.
“In addition, if Baldwin had not pointed the gun at Hutchins and Souza, this tragedy would not have occurred.”
They also noted the actor, as one of the producers of the film, “allowed, through acts or omissions, the hiring of inexperienced and unqualified Reed” for the “firearm-intense film” and “failed to demand the minimum safety standards, protocols, and requirements on set.”
Assistant Director Dave Halls has agreed to a plea deal for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon and has denied handing the firearm to the film’s lead actor.
The probable cause statement noted he was given the gun by Gutierrez-Reed and “provided Baldwin with the firearm so he could rehearse/practice with the weapon” — even though a “rubber or replica firearm should have been used” during rehearsals.
Baldwin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said Halls told him it was a “cold” gun - meaning it was unloaded and safe - when he handed him the weapon.
Gutierrez-Reed was not present when the incident occurred, but the actor previously suggested she bare some responsibility as it was her job to prepare and check the props.
Though the 30 Rock star previously insisted he did not pull the trigger when Hutchins was shot, the FBI later tested the weapon and issued a report which concluded it would not have fired if someone hadn’t pulled the trigger.
Hutchins’s death was previously ruled an accident but her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and others involved in the production.
The lawsuit was settled last October, and it was agreed filming would resume on Rust, with the cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, on board as an executive producer.