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Trial after fatal shooting: Alec Baldwin in court – trial for negligent homicide

Trial after fatal shooting: Alec Baldwin in court – trial for negligent homicide
Trial after fatal shooting: Alec Baldwin in court – trial for negligent homicide

A camerawoman dies during a western shoot. Alec Baldwin was holding the gun. Was it negligent homicide? The Hollywood star must now go to court. He faces 18 months in prison.

The deadly drama at Bonanza Creek Ranch, a popular western filming location in New Mexico, is almost three years ago. On October 21, 2021, Alec Baldwin, dressed in western gear, pulled out a revolver during rehearsals for the film “Rust”. But instead of harmless cartridges, live ammunition went off. A bullet pierced camerawoman Halyna Hutchins and then hit director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, in the shoulder. She was fatally injured, he escaped with minor injuries. Now Hollywood star Baldwin has to answer in court for negligent homicide.

The trial “State v. Alexander Rae Baldwin” will begin on Tuesday morning (local time) in the Santa Fe District Court, just under 30 kilometers from the film ranch. The jury will be selected at the start of the headline-grabbing trial. At the end, twelve jurors will have to reach a verdict. If found guilty, Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison.

Back and forth about the procedure

Right up until the end, it was a tug-of-war between the prosecution in the desert state of New Mexico and Baldwin’s New York lawyers. The actor’s defense attorneys pulled out all the stops to avoid the trial. Most recently, they argued that the gun that fired the shot had been damaged during subsequent investigations by FBI investigators. This meant that they were missing a potentially exculpatory piece of evidence in their client’s defense. Baldwin’s lawyers had previously complained about formal errors. But Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, who is considered tough, refused to budge. All requests to dismiss the case were rejected.

Sommer also sets a tight timeline. She has set just under two weeks for the trial, even though both sides have submitted long lists of possible witnesses and dozens of pieces of evidence. Cameras are allowed in the courtroom – the proceedings will be broadcast all over the world via livestream. This could put Baldwin (66) in the spotlight unintentionally.

Weapons master already convicted

This was also the case this spring, when the young gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed went on trial in Santa Fe. She was responsible for safety when handling weapons during filming. How the live ammunition got to the set was one of the key questions in the trial. In addition to blank cartridges and so-called dummy cartridges, investigators found six real cartridges. One of these was inserted into the revolver cylinder when loading. The prosecution accused Gutierrez-Reed of ignoring safety precautions and not checking the ammunition. In March, the jury found the young woman guilty of negligent homicide. Judge Sommer imposed the maximum sentence – 18 months in prison.

This is not a good omen for Baldwin. His name was mentioned constantly in the first “Rust” criminal trial – as the lead actor and producer of the low-budget western, the prosecution held him and other film participants responsible for the lack of safety on the set. The producers had ignored precautionary measures in order to make a quick buck, they said.

Baldwin defends himself against the allegations

The fatal shot was followed by a legal rollercoaster ride for Baldwin. Just a few weeks later, he declared in a TV interview: “I didn’t pull the trigger.” He would never point a gun at a person and pull the trigger. He had “no idea” how the live ammunition found its way into the gun. He always denied responsibility for the fatal accident.

The first charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed came in January 2023, but the allegations against the actor were initially dropped three months later. Further investigations and forensic analyses were required, it was said at the time. Among other things, FBI investigators examined whether a possible malfunction of the Colt could have caused the gun to fire. However, according to a report by firearms experts, the trigger must have been pulled. With new evidence in hand, the prosecution again took action against Baldwin in January 2024 – he again pleaded not guilty.

Baldwin has a large family

The star of films and series such as “The Hunt for Red October”, “Blue Jasmine” and “30 Rock” has experienced extreme highs and lows in his career, and he has also often made headlines in his private life. He struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and was involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Kim Basinger over their daughter Ireland.

He has been married to yoga teacher Hilaria Baldwin (40) since 2012; the couple has seven children. In September 2022, almost a year after the fatal shooting, their youngest daughter was born. Since last year, Baldwin has also been a grandfather, thanks to the first offspring of his daughter Ireland (28).

Regardless of the trial and a possible prison sentence, Baldwin announced a new family project at the beginning of June. The reality show “The Baldwins” will start next year on the US broadcaster TLC, the couple announced in a video on Instagram. “We invite you into our home to experience our highs and lows, the good, the bad, the wild and the crazy.”

Source: Stern

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