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Alec Baldwin Manslaughter Trial: Judge Delivers Blow in ‘Rust’ Case

Alec Baldwin’s role as a co-producer on the Western film Rust isn’t relevant to his involuntary manslaughter trial over the fatal on-set shooting, a judge in New Mexico ruled Monday.

Jury selection is slated to start on Tuesday. Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison if convicted of killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. He has pleaded not guilty, and appeared in court Monday, looking somber and also checking his phone.

In a Santa Fe preliminary hearing on Monday dedicated to deciding what evidence both sides can present to the jury, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer sided with the defense and will not allow evidence relating to the 66-year-old actor’s producing duties in the trial which starts this week.

“I’m having real difficulty with the state’s position that they want to show that as a producer he didn’t follow guidelines and therefore as an actor Mr. Baldwin did all of these things wrong that resulted in the death of Ms. Hutchins because as a producer he allowed these things to happen,” Sommer said on Monday. “I’m denying evidence of his status as a producer.”

The judge broke for a one-hour lunch around 2:15 p.m. EST on Monday.

Baldwin previously said he holding the gun when it went off and struck Hutchins with a live bullet, but didn’t pull the trigger. He has maintained his innocence, claiming he was not responsible for the gun being improperly loaded with a live bullet when it was supposed to be a blank prop run.

“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never,” Baldwin told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview about the fatal incident in December 2021.

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is currently serving her 18-month prison sentence after she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in February.

“I am saddened by the way the media sensationalized our traumatic tragedy and portrayed me as a complete monster, which has actually been the total opposite of what’s been in my heart,” Gutierrez-Reed read aloud in a statement during her trial.

“When I took on Rust, I was young and I was being naive, but I took my job as seriously as I knew how to. Despite not having proper time, resources and staffing when things got tough, I just did my best to handle it.”

Rust halted production directly after the 2021 shooting. It reportedly resumed in January 2023 and wrapped that April.

READ 17 COMMENTS
  • Loring says:

    Baldwin is so intrenched in his anti gun rhetoric. I’m starting to believe he thinks the bullet jumped out of the gun and killed that lady. That would indeed, be gun violence. But I’m on the other side of that debate. People kill people, and while he’s not much of one, he is the one that pulled the trigger! He killed her, not the gun.

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