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Prosecutors accuse Alec Baldwin of recklessness with firearms on 'Rust' set even before fatal shooting

By NICK GARCIA Published Jun 20, 2024 1:01 pm

Actor Alec Baldwin has been accused of displaying a pattern of recklessness with firearms on the set of Rust, where he accidentally shot the cinematographer to death—an incident that led to him facing involuntary manslaughter cases.

Variety reported that prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Erlinda Johnson, in a filing, accused Baldwin of firing a blank round at a crew member while using the crew member to establish a line of sight.

Morrissey and Johnson also accused Baldwin of engaging in “horseplay” with a revolver during training. They also accused him of being “erratic and aggressive” during filming, which raised safety concerns.

Prosecutors likewise claimed that Baldwin insisted on not being held to industry safety standards when Rust resumed filming some 18 months after the fatal shooting.

They also spelled out Baldwin's “other acts” as evidence they intend to introduce during hearing to show that his carelessness was not limited to the fatal accident, according to the filing.

Baldwin was holding a prop gun on the Rust set in 2021 when it discharged, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. He insisted that he didn’t pull the trigger and knew the gun accidentally had live ammunition.

Dave Halls, the safety coordinator and assistant director who handed Baldwin the loaded gun, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to six months probation.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, meanwhile, was convicted of manslaughter last March. She's facing 18 months in prison and is appealing her conviction.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges. He faces two alternative counts of involuntary manslaughter: one involving "negligent use of a firearm" and another involving acting "without due caution or circumspection." It will be up to the jury to decide whether to convict him on one or the other, or neither (but not both).

The charges relate to the action and not to the oversight of the movie. This means he is being held culpable as an actor, not as a producer.

Filming of Rust was halted by the tragedy but resumed last year. Souza also returned as director.

Baldwin will go on trial on July 9.