It’s been 15 months since cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot dead during rehearsals in New Mexico.
A friend of hers, who worked with her on the film Rust, told me he’s been “praying for accountability,” and the looming manslaughter charge suggests it may finally be coming.
From script assistants to lead electricians, the Rust cast and crew have filed several civil suits and countersuits as the blame and counter-blame game plays out in a uniquely American way.
But the charges announced by the Santa Fe District Attorney are the first sign that a criminal reckoning may be imminent alec baldwin and film armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of the on-set weapons.
Baldwin admits to holding gun when bullet killed him Hutchins He has been released from hospital but has always denied pulling the trigger.
However, his claims were inconsistent with the findings of FBI investigators. Police said they also spoke to other A-list actors as part of their investigation, who said they always check guns for live ammunition or ask others to do so. The implication is that Baldwin was negligent in not doing so.
“The gun was in his hand when he pulled the trigger, and that was the primary action that killed Halina Hutchins,” Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Cormac-Weiss told NBC News.
“It’s not just negligence, it’s people acting recklessly, people not doing their jobs, people not following safety protocols, not following safety standards, violating all the standards that we have to follow if we have guns in our hands. “
Alec Baldwin vows to fight allegations of Rust shooting
Baldwin did pull the trigger, FBI says
Highlights from Baldwin’s post-shooting interview
The film’s assistant director, Dave Holes, who was in overall charge of the weapon on set and allegedly handed it to Baldwin, reached a plea deal with prosecutors acknowledging that there was enough evidence to convict him of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed’s decision to conduct a laser investigation of him suggests investigators are focusing on the gun’s chain of custody and who handled it that day.
Ms Hutchins’ family welcomed the forthcoming charges, but the decision to charge Baldwin has sparked controversy in wider Hollywood.
“Calling Alec Baldwin as a producer is one thing, but charging him as an actor seems to misunderstand the chain of responsibility on a movie set,” Robert King, creator of the legal drama The Good Wife, tweeted. “If you charge the actors, you should charge the director, all the producers, the prop man, and many others.”
Baldwin remains defiant, even bullish. “We will fight it and we will win,” his lawyer said in a statement.
It matched his emotions in his first TV interview since the tragedy. “Someone was guilty, but not me,” he said at the time.
There is no indication that he is imminent in reaching a settlement with prosecutors over the shooting, so a jury trial is likely and he could face 18 months in prison if convicted.