Hollywood actor and producer Alec Baldwin, on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Baldwin’s gun went off accidentally on the sets of Rust, a Western being shot in New Mexico. The charges were revived, after being dropped during a five-month investigation. The incident resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The incident took place in October 2021, when Baldwin was practising firing a gun for a scene. The prosecutors now say that the charges are being revived over new forensic evidence that has emerged. The incident also injured director Joel Souza.
The incident led to calls for tightening regulations around the use of firearms on movie sets and pointed to sloppy management on sets of the movie. The film’s armourer Hannah Guiterrez-Reed also faces similar charges.
Baldwin said he did not pull the trigger of the gun and added that he wasn’t responsible for Hutchins’ death as he wasn’t aware that the gun contained live rounds and that live ammunition wasn’t supposed to be on set.
The prosecutors said that after the FBI testing broke the weapon, the forensic department reconstructed the gun, which revealed that the incident would have occurred only if the trigger had been pulled. If convicted, Baldwin could face a sentence of 18 months.
The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) came to Baldwin’s defence and said that the responsibility of firearms present on sets falls on qualified professionals overseeing their use and the onus does not fall on the actors.