Entertainment

Alec Baldwin to make first US court appearance on February 24

The actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the incident on the set of the film Rust.
The actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the incident on the set of the film Rust. The actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the incident on the set of the film Rust.

Alec Baldwin will make his first appearance in a US court over the death of Halyna Hutchins on February 24.

The Hollywood actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the incident on the set of the Rust movie in October 2021.

He was formally charged with the offences by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office on Tuesday, alongside the film’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

In a statement of probable cause, filed along with the charges, the DA claimed Baldwin’s “reckless deviation from known standards and practice and protocol” directly caused the fatal shooting.

Rust incident
Rust incident The Hollywood actor faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the incident on the set of the Rust movie in October 2021 (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s department/PA)

Baldwin is set to appear at the Santa Fe Magistrates Court on February 24 at 10am local time for his arraignment hearing.

The PA news agency understands the hearing is likely to be virtual.

In its report, the DA alleged the actor had shown “wilful disregard” for the safety of others in the days leading up to the incident and was not present for “mandatory” firearms training.

Instead, he had undergone a 30-minute on-set session, during which he was distracted by a phone call to his family, the DA said.

The statement added that on the day of the shooting, there were “no less than a dozen acts, or omissions of recklessness” on the set in the period prior to the incident.

“The evidence and statements documented in this affidavit confirm many instances of extremely reckless acts or reckless failures to act by Baldwin in a 10-day period,” the statement read.

“Evidence clearly shows that none of the incidents or issues were addressed by Baldwin, in his position as actor or producer, to mitigate future occurrences of recklessness, correct reckless behaviour, or correct training deficiencies.

“Baldwin’s deviation from known standards, practice and protocol directly caused the fatal death of Hutchins.”

Both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative” with the two counts of manslaughter, meaning that a jury would decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty, the DA’s office said previously.

The first charge can be referred to as involuntary manslaughter and requires proof of underlying negligence.

Rust incident
Rust incident Baldwin is set to appear at the Santa Fe Magistrates Court on February 24 at 10am local time for his arraignment hearing (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department/PA)

This charge also includes the misdemeanour charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would likely merge as a matter of law.

The second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.

Under New Mexico law, both charges are a fourth-degree felony and are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a 5,000 dollar (£4,000) fine.

The second charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, which makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.