Alec Baldwin's Not Guilty Plea in 'Rust' Manslaughter Case

Alec Baldwin faces legal battle in on-set tragedy.

by Nouman Rasool
Alec Baldwin's Not Guilty Plea in 'Rust' Manslaughter Case
© Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

On Wednesday, acclaimed actor Alec Baldwin entered a not guilty plea to the charge of involuntary manslaughter relating to the tragic 2021 incident on the set of the movie "Rust", which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin, at the age of 65, faced indictment by a grand jury on January 19. This heartrending episode unfolded at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the filming of "Rust". Baldwin, while handling a prop gun on October 21, inadvertently discharged a live round.

This unforeseen event tragically claimed the life of 42-year-old Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

Baldwin's Swift Plea

In a move to expedite proceedings, Baldwin, represented by his legal counsel, waived the formal arraignment process and submitted a not guilty plea.

Throughout the ordeal, Baldwin has consistently claimed innocence regarding the firearm's discharge, asserting he never pulled the trigger. He also mentioned that assistant director Dave Halls had declared the gun "cold" – indicating it was free of live ammunition.

Halls, in a related development, accepted a plea of no contest in March to a misdemeanor charge concerning negligent use of a deadly weapon. He is currently serving a six-month period of unsupervised probation. The incident has also implicated Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer for "Rust", who faces charges of involuntary manslaughter.

With her trial set to commence on February 21, she, like Baldwin, has pleaded not guilty. In a detailed 2021 interview with ABC News, Baldwin recounted the sequence of events leading to the mishap. He described following Hutchins' directions during the scene, which involved him drawing, raising, and partially cocking the gun.

Baldwin's legal team, comprising Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, has expressed confidence in the judicial process, eagerly anticipating their day in court. Previously, in April 2023, Baldwin faced similar charges which were subsequently dropped.

Prosecutors at the time cited new evidence necessitating further investigation and forensic analysis, leading to the current developments in this high-profile case. As this story continues to unfold, the film industry and its safety protocols remain under intense scrutiny.

Alec Baldwin