In a statement issued by his attorney, the actor is obviously furious over the decision of the district attorney to press charges.
“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,” his attorney Luke Nikas said, as Access Hollywood reported.
In addition to Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the on-set armorer -- the person in charge of all firearms used in production whose job it is to make sure every weapon is safe before being handed to an actor -- was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. Also, Assistant Director David Halls has agreed to cop a plea to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. No charges were filed in relation to the non-fatal wounding of director Joel Souza.
“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,” New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
The family of Hutchins has also released a statement supportive of Carmack-Altwies' decision.
“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,” the family said via attorney Brian J. Panish. “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.”
The shooting took place at a "western" town built especially for filming in the state of New Mexico, which is why authorities from that state are charging Baldwin.
According to Access Hollywood:
Under New Mexico law, if found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, it is a fourth-degree felony, and they could face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
If found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act would require proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This charge is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5000 fine. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, a mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.
“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,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the DA to try the case. “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.”
Formal charges are expected to be filed by the end of January, the report added.
“There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case,” Carmack-Altwies said. “We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”