Alec Baldwin Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter In Shooting Death Of Cinematographer

Criminal charges here were certainly unexpected.

Actor Alec Baldwin Fatally Shoots Movie Crew Member With Prop Firearm

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

Prosecutors in New Mexico announced today that Alec Baldwin will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins, 42, cinematographer of the film “Rust.” The movie’s armorer, who handled and loaded the gun, faces similar charges.

“On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice,” said New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

If you’re not familiar with the case, let’s take a step back and do a rewind on our prior coverage. In October 2021, Baldwin fatally shot Hutchins with a prop gun while on the movie’s set. As we previously noted, Matt Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, is a corporate associate in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins. The widower quickly lawyered up, hiring Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi, an L.A.-based plaintiffs’ firm specializing in wrongful-death litigation. He officially filed suit last February. Hutchins reached a confidential settlement in October 2022 with Baldwin, the film’s production companies, its producers, and other key members of the crew.

The New York Times refers to the new criminal charges as a “remarkable development” in Baldwin’s career. Luke Nikas, a lawyer for Baldwin, offered this statement on his client’s behalf:

“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’s 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. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

One of the professionals Baldwin worked with, Dave Halls, the film’s first assistant director, who handed the actor the gun, plans to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, in exchange for a suspended sentence. Jason Bowles, a lawyer for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded the gun on the day of the shooting tragedy, had this to say of the manslaughter charges against her: “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. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”

In New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is considered a fourth-degree felony that carries with it up to 18 months behind bars as well as a $5,000 fine. A firearm enhancement on the charges would mean that if convicted, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would face five years behind bars.

Brian J. Panish, a lawyer for Matt Hutchins, released this statement on his client’s behalf:

“It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

We will continue our coverage of this case as new details emerge.

Alec Baldwin Will Be Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter in ‘Rust’ Killing [New York Times]
Alec Baldwin to be charged with manslaughter in fatal shooting on the set of ‘Rust,’ DA says [NBC News]


Earlier: Biglaw Widower Of Halyna Hutchins Reaches Settlement With Alec Baldwin In Wrongful-Death Suit
Biglaw Widower Of Halyna Hutchins Hires Firm Specialing In Wrongful-Death Suits
Cinematographer Shot By Alec Baldwin Was Wife Of Latham & Watkins Associate

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.