Alec Baldwin created unsafe environment on ‘Rust’ set, prosecutors say

Actor Alec Baldwin struggled to control his emotions on the set of the “Rust,” creating an unsafe environment before the 2021 shooting that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to prosecutors.

>> Read more trending news

In a court filing made public on Monday, special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said Baldwin showed a “complete lack of concern for the safety of those around him” which, when combined with the negligence and inexperience of armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, “would prove deadly for Halyna Hutchins.”

In January, a grand jury in New Mexico indicted Baldwin on manslaughter charges related to Hutchins’ death. He was holding a .45 caliber revolver when it fired a shot on Oct. 21, 2021, that struck Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

“At the time, a scene was being prepared during which Mr. Baldwin was expected to slowly pull his gun from his holster – that’s all,” prosecutors said. They added that Gutierrez-Reed had “inadvertently loaded a live round into the gun.”

A jury found Gutierrez-Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month.

Baldwin arrived late on set and missed initial firearms training, Monday’s court filing shows. During his training, prosecutors said he was “inattentive,” spending time on the phone with his family and “making videos of himself shooting the gun for his family’s enjoyment.” He also rushed crew members, which “routinely compromised safety because Rust is not a romantic comedy, it is an action-filled western with dangerous stunts and real guns being used as props,” according to the filing.

“In addition to rushing the cast and crew, Mr. Baldwin was frequently screaming and cursing at himself, at crew members or at no one and not for any particular reason,” prosecutors said.

“To watch Mr. Baldwin’s conduct on the set of Rust is to witness a man who has absolutely no control of his own emotions and absolutely no concern for how his conduct effects those around him. Witnesses have testified that it was this exact conduct that contributed to safety compromises on set.”

Baldwin has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to charges. He has claimed that he never pulled the trigger of the gun before it went off and that he was told where to point the gun before the 2021 shooting.

Prosecutors pointed to forensic testing that proved the gun’s trigger had to be pulled before the shooting and said Baldwin “decided to go off-script” and pointed the gun toward Hutchins himself, without any direction from Souza.

“To the frustration of Mr. Souza, Mr. Baldwin did this frequently, he ignored direction from Mr. Souza and without warning, acted on his own volition,” according to the court filing.

Prosecutors accused Baldwin of having lied in interviews with authorities and in the media. They also said Baldwin’s attorney made “numerous false statements” in a motion to dismiss the case that was filed last month in court.

In that court filing, Baldwin’s attorneys asked a judge to toss the case, accusing prosecutors of having “publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their improprieties—without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two and a half years.

“This is an abuse of the system, and an abuse of an innocent person whose rights have been trampled to the extreme,” they wrote.

Prosecutors denied having mistreated Baldwin, saying that they offered the actor “a very favorable plea agreement” in October 2023. Though they said they never got a response from Baldwin, they later learned that his attorney had given details about the confidential plea deal to the media. They also learned he had commissioned a documentary about Hutchins’ death and was “actively pressuring material witnesses in the case” to be part of it.

“It was at this point that the plea offer was rescinded, and the case was scheduled for grand jury,” prosecutors said.

They added that they earlier agreed to drop charges against Baldwin at the request of the actor’s attorney, pending the results of forensic testing, in order to spare him from having to pay attorney fees if forensic testing warranted the full dismissal of charges.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the case against Baldwin on July 9. Authorities expect the trial to last eight days.

Comments on this article