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Alec Baldwin accused of breaking gun rules; defense blames production

A prosecutor said Wednesday (10) that Alec Baldwin broke “fundamental rules” for handling weapons in the case that ended with the death of Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for the film “Rust”, in 2021.

Meanwhile, the artist’s lawyer blamed security experts on the film’s set, who have already been convicted in the case.

Baldwin, 66, who is on trial for manslaughter in Hollywood’s first shooting fatality in three decades, took notes at the defense table and listened calmly.

The charge is unprecedented in US history, holding an actor criminally responsible for a gunshot death during filming.

A New Mexico state jury heard prosecutor Erlinda Johnson outline arguments that Baldwin disregarded safety during filming when he pointed a gun at Hutchins, cocked it and pulled the trigger on set.

“The evidence will show that someone who played pretend with a real gun and violated cardinal rules of firearm safety is the defendant, Alexander Baldwin,” Johnson said.

Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria Baldwin, was in the second row of the public gallery, and his brother, Stephen Baldwin, was in front of her.

Baldwin’s lawyer blames gunsmith and assistant

The artist’s attorney, Alex Spiro, spoke about “Rust” gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez — head of weapons safety — and first assistant director Dave Halls — responsible for overall set safety.

Both were convicted in the case, and Spiro noted that they failed to check the cartridges in the gun to ensure it was safe for Baldwin to use.

“There were people responsible for firearm safety, but actor Alec Baldwin did not commit any crime,” the lawyer alleged.

Remember the case

Halyna Hutchins was killed when the 1873 Single Action Army revolver Alec Baldwin was holding fired a live round inadvertently loaded by Gutierrez. Director Joel Souza was also injured.

Since a police interview on October 21, 2021, the day of the case, Baldwin has argued that the gun simply “went off.”

In an interview with ABC News two months later, Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger.

A 2022 FBI test found the gun was in normal working order and would not fire unless the trigger was pulled.

In a sign of the defense’s retreat from this, Spiro stressed that even if Baldwin pulled the trigger, it was not a crime. He noted that it was Gutierrez and Halls’ job to allow an actor to “wave, point, pull the trigger” safely, “as actors do.”

“On a movie set, you are allowed to pull the trigger, so even if he pulled the trigger intentionally, as prosecutors said, that does not mean he committed murder,” the lawyer argued.

State prosecutors charged Baldwin with manslaughter in January 2022.

They dropped the charges three months later after the actor’s lawyers presented photographic evidence that the gun had been modified, arguing that it would fire more easily, bolstering the actor’s argument that it was an accidental discharge.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury to reinstate the indictment in January after an independent firearms expert confirmed the FBI’s 2022 study.

“He pointed the gun at another human being, cocked it and pulled the trigger with complete disregard for Ms. Hutchins’ safety,” Johnson said.

Gutierrez, the gunsmith whose job on the “Rust” set included making firearms safe to handle, was convicted of manslaughter in March for carrying the live ammunition.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Hutchins’ parents and sister in a lawsuit against Baldwin, was in the court’s public gallery on Wednesday.

Source: CNN Brasil

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