Facing a prison sentence of 18 months to three years if found guilty, Baldwin was re-charged by a New Mexico grand jury January 19, a year to the day he was originally charged over Hutchins’ death. Due in no small part to incompetence by the initial investigators, those charges were dropped in April 2023 but never entirely disregarded by prosecutors.
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Now Baldwin is charged with involuntary manslaughter (negligent use of a firearm), a lesser charge, and involuntary manslaughter (without due caution or circumspection).
“The above-named defendant did cause the death of Halyna Hutchins by an act committed with the total disregard or indifference to the safety of others, and the act was such that an ordinary person would anticipate that death might occur under the circumstances,” the grand jury indictment reads of the latter charge, a felony.
“We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin lawyers Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro from Quinn Emanuel said earlier this month after the indictment was made public by Special Prosecutors Kerri Morrisey and Jason Lewis.
Thursday’s planned hearing is now canceled due to Baldwin’s plea and waiver of arraignment.
However, while Baldwin is free without bail, there are conditions the Rust actor-producer must adhere to, according to New Mexico judge T. Glenn Ellington:
Defendant is permitted to have contact with potential witnesses only in the capacity laid out herein: In connection with the “Rust” movie and other related and unrelated business matters: provided, however, that Defendant is not permitted to discuss the accident at issue, or the substance of his or the witness’s potential testimony in this case. ‘Related business matters” is designed to capture promoting the movie and other similar activities. “Unrelated business matters” is designed to capture other business relationships between Baldwin and any of the witnesses. The Defendant is permitted to continue to utilize Matthew DelPiano as his agent. Discussion about the incident is permitted with the witnesses who are named as civil codefendants only so long as such conversations are held exclusively in the presence of attorneys for civil litigation purposes. The Defendant will not directly or indirectly solicit witnesses or members of the cast and crew to participate in the documentary with Moxie films or to obtain statements regarding safety on the “Rust’ set outside of standard investigative procedures.
Baldwin is also not allowed to leave the U.S. without permission of the court, drink, or possess a firearm.
All this stems from the October 21, 2021, death of Hutchins on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set just outside Santa Fe after a gun Baldwin was holding during a rehearsal discharged a live round. Rust director Joel Souza was wounded in the shooting but recovered.
Following the release of an FBI-assisted investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office in November 2022, Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were formally charged by prosecutors in January 2023 with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the killing of Hutchins. Gutierrez-Reed never saw the charges against her dropped. Rust assistant director Dave Halls made a plea deal and received six months of unsupervised probation.
From the day of the shooting, up to the resurrection and completion of Rust and beyond, Baldwin has always insisted he never pulled the trigger on the 1880s prop gun that killed Hutchins. It’s an assessment that the FBI and more recently independent weapons examiners brought aboard by the special prosecutors disagree with. After looking at the somewhat desecrated weapon, both parties have determined the gun could have only gone off if Baldwin had pulled the trigger.
Late last year, prosecutors put pressure on Gutierrez-Reed to explain how live rounds got on the Rust set. The state has implied they believe Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for the live rounds. When the former armorer offered nothing, evidence-tampering charges were tacked on to her case with allegations of drug and drink abuse. Her attorneys are seeking to have the new charges tossed off the case. Like Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty, with her case supposedly going to trial late next month.
Besides the renewed criminal case, Baldwin is up against a number of Rust civil cases in California and New Mexico.
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