Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ fatal shooting trial set to begin in July

A New Mexico judge announced Monday that actor Alec Baldwin’s manslaughter trial for the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming of the Western movie “Rust,” is set for July 10.

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Jury selection will begin July 9, and the trial is expected to last until July 19.

Hutchins was shot and killed on Oct. 21, 2021, when the reproduction Colt. 45 revolver Baldwin was rehearsing with fired a live round. The bullet also wounded the movie’s director, Joel Souza.

Baldwin was indicted on two counts – involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm, or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection – on Jan. 19.

The trial for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez began last week. Gutierrez, who is standing trial for involuntary manslaughter, allegedly brought the live Colt .45 round on set. According to prosecutors, she failed to realize the gun was loaded with a live round because of “sloppy and unprofessional” work. Gutierrez told police she loaded it into Baldwin’s gun, mistaking it for a dummy round.

On Monday, “Rust” camera crew member Ross Addiego cried as he told jurors of “the concussion, ears ringing, that moment of panic” as Baldwin’s gun fired and the first person he made eye contact with was Hutchins who was on the ground groaning.

“Miss Gutierrez Reed loaded a firearm that killed my friend,” said Addiego, adding that Gutierrez, first assistant director Dave Halls and Baldwin would skip firearms safety checks to try to meet daily production goals.

Gutierrez’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, asked Addiego if anyone raised the possibility with Baldwin of slowing filming after there were two accidental firearm discharges and film crew members walked off set over safety issues, The Associated Press reported.

“I don’t recall anyone standing up to Mr. Baldwin on that set,” Addiego said.

Baldwin was one of the producers and a writer on the movie.

Baldwin said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos in December 2021 that he did not fire the weapon after he cocked it and aimed it in Hutchins’s direction, but that the gun went off on its own.

According to Reuters, Baldiwn’s lawyers plan to file a motion for charges to be dismissed on grounds that a grand jury failed to follow certain rules when it reinstated charges against him in January that had already been dropped.

FBI firearms expert Bryce Ziegler testified on Monday that the weapon Baldwin had, an Italian-made Pietta revolver, would not fire when fully cocked without the trigger being pulled. Charges against Baldwin were dropped last year after new evidence suggested the hammer might have been modified allowing the gun to fire without the trigger being pulled.

Prosecutors called a grand jury to recharge Baldwin after an independent test of the single-action revolver confirmed the FBI’s findings that it would not discharge without a trigger pull.

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