Alec Baldwin’s Lawyer Slams ‘Rust’ Charges as a ‘Terrible Miscarriage of Justice’

The producer and armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, have been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter

Rust Alec Baldwin Prosecutors
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Alec Baldwin’s lawyer has deemed the charges facing the “Rust” producer and star as a “terrible miscarriage of justice.” Earlier today, news broke that Baldwin would face two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of director of photography Halyna Hutchins, alongside armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win,” Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, Baldwin’s attorney, said in a statement.

The New Mexico District Attorney’s office will file charges at the end of the month, First Judicial DA Mary Carmack-Altwies said. No charges were filed relating to the non-fatal shooting of the film’s director, Joel Souza. Additionally, assistant director David Halls signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, whereby he faces a suspended sentence and six months of probation.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” Carmack-Altwies said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

In the state of New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, because a firearm was involved in the crime (what’s known as a “firearm enhancement”), the second charge is subject to a mandatory five-year jail sentence.

Per the DA’s office, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative,” meaning that a jury will “decide not simply if they [are] guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they [are] guilty.”

Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed to the case, added in a statement, “If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

In response to the charges, Hutchins’ family said in a statement: “We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life. Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

In October 2022, a year after Hutchins’ killing, Baldwin reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the cinematographer’s family. In that agreement, the parties established a timeline for the production to return to filming, beginning Jan. 2023. Hutchins’ widowed husband also boarded the project as an executive producer.

“Rust” follows a 13-year-old boy in 1880s Kansas who accidentally shoots and kills a local rancher. In the period Western, grizzled outlaw Harland Rust (Baldwin), the boy’s grandfather, helps him escape jail. The pair then embark on a journey through New Mexico with a U.S. Marshal and a bounty hunter hot on their trail.