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Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ trial live: Opening statements begin in actor’s involuntary manslaughter case

Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ trial live: Opening statements begin in actor’s involuntary manslaughter case

Video: Alec Baldwin seen on set of Rust after

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Louise Thomas

Opening statements will get underway today in Alec Baldwin’s high-profile trial over the fatal shooting on the set of the movie Rust.

It’s been almost three years since a rehearsal of a shooting scene in the western film ended tragically, when a prop gun Baldwin was holding went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin, 66, has insisted that he didn’t pull the trigger on the firearm and didn’t know it contained a live round, claiming it fired accidentally.

He is charged with a single felony count of involuntary manslaughter over the October 2021 incident and faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

On Tuesday, a jury of 12 people was seated to decide the Hollywood actor’s fate.

Baldwin arrived at the Sante Fe courthouse flanked by his wife Hilaria – who brought the couple’s baby along – and brother Stephen.

The high-profile trial comes three months after the movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in April and sentenced to the maximum penalty of 18 months in prison.

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Prosecutors say they’ll present evidence that Baldwin went ‘off script’

Prosecutors say they’ll present evidence that Baldwin went “off script” and failed to follow basic industry standards for firearms safety when he pointed the firearm at Hutchins on October 21, 2021.

“At the end of the day, the prosecutor’s main theory is that this was a gun involved, and Baldwin had a gun in his hand, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a film set or hunting safety class, you’re responsible for what comes out of the end of the barrel,” said John Day, a Santa Fe-based defense attorney and former prosecutor.

Testimony at trial will delve into shortcomings in a final safety check of the gun before Baldwin began rehearsing with it, as well as the mechanics of the weapon and whether it could have fired without a trigger pull. The live bullet that killed Hutchins also wounded director Joel Souza.

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 15:45

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Who is the jury in the Alec Baldwin trial?

Prosecutors and defense attorneys selected 16 jurors — 11 women and five men — on Tuesday, seating a jury from a region with strong currents of gun ownership and safety informed by backcountry hunting.

Four of the jurors will be deemed alternates while the other 12 deliberate once they get the case.

The shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old rising star in her craft, nearly three years ago sent shock waves through the film industry and led to one felony charge against Baldwin that could result in up to 18 months in prison.

Baldwin attorney Alex Spiro probed prospective jurors on Tuesday for strong opinions about gun safety and asked whether a person must entirely take responsibility for whether a gun is loaded or may “rely on experts, does anybody have a problem with that?”

Most who answered said they always treat a gun as if it were loaded.

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 15:29

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Alec Baldwin arrives at court for opening statements

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 15:18

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Opening statements expected to begin today

Opening statements in Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial are expected to begin today.

A jury was selected on Tuesday. The Hollywood actor arrived at the Santa Fe courthouse Tuesday morning with his wife Hilaria and their youngest child.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said the trial is only expected to last nine days.

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 14:00

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What happened to movie weapons armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed?

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, a movie weapons armorer, received the maximum sentence of 18 months in jail for involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin on a Western movie set.

A New Mexico judge found that Gutierrez-Reed’s recklessness amounted to a serious violent offense, while noting few indications of genuine remorse from the defendant since her conviction in March.

Prosecutors blame Gutierrez-Reed for unwittingly bringing live ammunition onto the set of “Rust,” where it was expressly prohibited, and for failing to follow basic gun-safety protocols .

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 13:00

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What is Alec Baldwin’s defense?

Baldwin will bring with him an elite legal team of mostly New York-based attorneys, many of them Harvard Law graduates, from the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Alex Spiro, a 41-year-old defense attorney who has represented Elon Musk, Megan Thee Stallion and other prominent figures and has become among the most sought-after lawyers in the country, will give aggressive cross-examination to the state’s witnesses.

The defense will try to show that it is not the job of an actor to make sure real rounds are not in his gun, a position strongly supported by Baldwin’s union, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Baldwin said in an interview with ABC News, and implied in interviews with authorities, that he never pulled the revolver’s trigger.

His lawyers will also attack the gun evidence, and the serious damage done to the revolver during an FBI test they say amounted to the destruction of evidence and left the defense no chance to examine it.

Firearms experts for the prosecution who testified at the Gutierrez-Reed trial are returning to the witness stand, over objections by Baldwin, to testify about his handling of the revolver and whether the gun was functioning properly.

And they may press witnesses over whether Hutchins received proper medical treatment between the shooting and the declaration of her death at a hospital.

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 12:00

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What happened to Halyna Hutchins?

On the day of the shooting in 2021, Alec Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he was required to draw his weapon and aim it toward the camera.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had prepared a trio of guns for use in the scene, including two guns that could not fire rounds, and a fully-operational replica of a Colt 45 revolver.

The armorer reportedly checked the weapons before placing them on a cart and making them available to Baldwin, according to court documents.

While discussing the scene, Baldwin was showing Hutchins, camera operator Reid Russell, and the film’s director, Joel Souza, how he intended to draw the firearm.

“So, I guess I’m gonna take this out, pull it, and go, ‘Bang!’” Baldwin reportedly said, according to a report by the LA Times.

At some point during his draw and explanation, the revolver fired. The bullet struck Halyna Hutchins in the chest, exited her body, and then hit Souza, who was behind her.

First responders transported Hutchins to a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, close to where the film was being shot. She was pronounced dead later that same day. Souza survived.

It was later discovered that a live round had been loaded into the pistol Baldwin used on set that day.

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 11:00

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SEE IT: Alec Baldwin says he ‘never’ pulled trigger on prop gun that killed Halyna Hutchins

Alec Baldwin says he ‘never’ pulled trigger on prop gun that killed Halyna Hutchins

Andrea Cavallier10 July 2024 09:00

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