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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Trial for Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Shooting Incident Scheduled for July

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From the heart of SANTA FE, N.M.,‌ the​ manslaughter⁤ trial of Alec⁣ Baldwin, a renowned actor, ⁢is‍ set to commence on July 10. This follows the tragic incident that occurred in 2021, ⁣where cinematographer​ Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot‌ on the set of the Western film “Rust”. The ruling ⁢was ‌made by a New Mexico judge on ⁢Monday.

It’s worth noting that there’s a scarce record of actors in Hollywood being criminally liable for a shooting death during ‍a‍ film production.

The ‌unfortunate incident led to the death of Hutchins when a live round was discharged from the revolver Baldwin was holding, which also injured director Joel Souza.

The “Rust”⁤ armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, is also facing trial for allegedly⁣ introducing the live ⁣round​ on set and failing to identify it. She confessed to the police that she loaded the​ live round into Baldwin’s gun, mistaking it for ​a dummy round.

However, Gutierrez’s lawyers argue that she is being unfairly blamed for Baldwin’s​ failure to adhere‌ to ‍basic firearm safety protocols. Gutierrez, like Baldwin, is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Baldwin maintains ‍his innocence,⁣ stating that he‌ is not responsible for Hutchins’ death. His legal team is planning to file a motion to⁤ dismiss‌ the ​charges, arguing that the grand‌ jury did not follow‍ the judge’s rules when ⁣they reinstated charges against him in January, after they were initially dropped in April 2023.

During Gutierrez’s trial on Monday, an FBI firearms expert‌ testified that⁤ the Italian-made Pietta reproduction Colt .45 revolver⁤ Baldwin​ was holding would ⁤not discharge when fully cocked unless the trigger was pulled.

This testimony contradicts Baldwin’s initial statements​ after the shooting. He claimed that he cocked ⁢the gun but did not pull the trigger.

“The ‌gun would ⁢not discharge without pulling the trigger in the full cock position,” testified FBI forensic ⁢examiner Bryce Ziegler. He ‌added that he⁢ had to strike the gun’s hammer⁣ with a rawhide mallet to make it discharge in the fully-cocked ⁤position.

In a December 2021 interview with ‌ABC television, Baldwin⁢ stated⁤ that it was the ⁢responsibility of Gutierrez and others to ensure firearm safety,‍ and live rounds should never have been brought on ⁢set.

For over a century, ‌live rounds have been prohibited on ‌movie sets due​ to fatalities caused by their use during Hollywood’s silent⁢ era.

The SAG-AFTRA union, representing ‌the movie industry, has backed Baldwin’s stance, asserting that ⁢actors are not hired to be ‍weapons experts.

The outcome of‌ Gutierrez’s trial is likely to influence Baldwin’s defense strategy. If she is found guilty, legal experts⁢ believe it would be challenging to‌ convict​ Baldwin ‍of criminal negligence, as ‍it would be difficult to hold both Gutierrez and Baldwin accountable for firearm safety.

In a December 2021 television interview, Baldwin⁣ stated ‍that he was instructed to‌ aim the⁣ gun at the camera when it discharged.

“I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin told ABC television journalist George Stephanopoulos.‌ “I ​cocked the gun and go, ‌’Can you see that? ⁢Can ‌you see that?‌ And ‌I let go of ⁢the hammer of the gun⁣ and ​the⁤ gun goes off.”

Last ‌year,⁤ charges against Baldwin were dropped after ⁣new evidence suggested that the hammer of the “Peacemaker” Colt 45 ‍might have been modified, and the gun⁤ could have ‌discharged without the trigger being pulled.

However,⁤ prosecutors convened a grand⁢ jury to recharge Baldwin after an independent test of the single-action revolver confirmed the FBI’s findings that it⁤ would not ‍discharge without a trigger pull.

Ziegler stated that he did not observe ‍any⁣ modifications to the firearm ⁣when⁤ it arrived at the FBI labs⁤ in Quantico, Virginia.

“The ​firearm⁣ was functioning normally when I received it,” he ‍said.

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