c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a Involuntary manslaughter charges have been filed against Alec Baldwin for the Rust shooting incident.
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Involuntary manslaughter charges have been filed against Alec Baldwin for the Rust shooting incident.

Seth Wenig/AP

In connection with the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while she was working on the western film "Rust," Alec Baldwin was charged on Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter.

The American actor will face criminal charges, according to Mary Carmack-Altwies, the first judicial district attorney of New Mexico, who made the announcement in early January. Carmack-Altwies stated on Tuesday, "Today we have taken another critical step to obtain justice for Halyna Hutchins. No one is above the law in New Mexico, he added.

This Tuesday, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the person in charge of the movie's weapons, was also charged with the same offence. Both could be sentenced up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine if found guilty. According to the US judicial system, the aggravating circumstances surrounding the use of weapons might increase that sentence to five years.

The actor was spotted "distracted and conversing on the phone with his family" while receiving firearms training, according to a document made public by the prosecution on Tuesday. Although the session was supposed to last "at least an hour or more," the testimony of the movie's weapons manager indicates that he barely lasted for 30 minutes.

The 64-year-old Baldwin has consistently maintained that he did not pull the trigger and that the witnesses told him the gun was unloaded before handing it over. According to his attorney Luke Nikas, the accusation is a "sad miscarriage" and he will fight it. Attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed said on Tuesday that the prosecution had "misunderstood the facts" and drawn "the wrong conclusions." Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion issued a statement saying, "We will fight these allegations and anticipate the jury finding not guilty."

On the other side, assistant director Dave Halls did not dispute the charge of careless use of a lethal weapon after giving Baldwin the revolver on set and telling him it was "cold" (movie slang indicating a safe weapon to wield). Following a judge's approval, your settlement will be made public. 

Among the co-producers of the movie, Baldwin, and Gutierrez-Reed are accused of two different counts of manslaughter with varied degrees of negligence. Prosecutors in New Mexico will request that the defendants appear in court within a month.

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