Both Baldwin and the “Rust” armorer will be facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter, which will be formally filed at the end of the month.
One charge is a fourth-degree felony which can result in a maximum of eighteen months in jail or a $5,000 fine. The second charge carries an additional firearm enhancement, which can result in a mandatory five years in prison if either of them is found guilty.
SAG-AFTRA Issues Statement Condemning ‘Wrong & Uninformed’ Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Against ‘Rust’ Actor Alec Baldwin
On Thursday night, SAG-AFTRA slammed the Santa Fe DA’s decision to hold the “30 Rock” actor liable for the death of Halyna Hutchins, insisting that it is the responsibility of the employer, not the performers, to ensure gun safety on set.
Although the statement did not directly mention Baldwin by name, the guild began their lengthy missive, writing, “The death of Halyna Hutchins is a tragedy, and all the more so because of its preventable nature. It is not a failure of duty or a criminal act on the part of any performer.” The statement, first reported by Deadline, continues:
“The prosecutor’s contention that an actor has a duty to ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is wrong and uninformed. An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert. Firearms are provided for their use under the guidance of multiple expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm. In addition, the employer is always responsible for providing a safe work environment at all times, including hiring and supervising the work of professionals trained in weapons.
“The Industry Standards for safety with firearms and use of blank ammunition are clearly laid out in Safety Bulletin 1, provided by the Joint Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Commission. The guidelines require an experienced, qualified armorer to be put in charge of all handling, use, and safekeeping of firearms on set. These duties include ‘inspecting the firearm and barrel before and after every firing sequence,’ and ‘checking all firearms before each use.’
“The guidelines do not make it the performer’s responsibility to check any firearm. Performers train to perform, and they are not required or expected to be experts on guns or experienced in their use. The industry assigns that responsibility to qualified professionals who oversee their use and handling in every aspect. Anyone issued a firearm on set must be given training and guidance in its safe handlingg and use, but all activity with firearms on a set must be under the careful supervision and control of the professional armorer and the employer.”
Lawyers For Baldwin And Gutierrez-Reed Speak Out Against ‘Rust’ Charges
Alec Baldwin’s lawyer Luke Nikas also issued a statement, saying, “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,” Nikas continued. “We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, also released a statement, saying, “Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts,” Bowles added. “We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
Halyna Hutchins’ Family Feels That ‘Charges Are Warranted’
The Hutchins family put out a brief statement on Thursday morning only about an hour after the news broke.
“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 statement began.
It continued, “Our independent investigation also supports that charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law.”