Prosecutor Says Alec Baldwin ‘Violated Cardinal Rules of Gun Safety’

Prosecutor Says Alec Baldwin ‘Violated Cardinal Rules of Gun Safety’

A prosecutor told jurors that Alec Baldwin “violated cardinal rules of gun safety” in his opening statements at his manslaughter trial.

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

She pointed out that the set of the film Rust, where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot, was a workplace.

“The evidence will show that, as in many workplaces, there are people who act recklessly and put other people in danger,” Johnson said. “That’s the defendant, you’ll hear from him.”

Meanwhile, a defence lawyer told jurors that Ms Hutchins’ death was an “unspeakable tragedy” but that “Alec Baldwin committed no crime; he was an actor, he was acting”.

Baldwin’s attorney, Alex Spiro, stressed in his opening statement that the star did exactly what actors always do.

“I don’t need to tell you more because you’ve all seen shootouts in movies,” Mr. Spiro said.

The trial will examine the confluence of gun safety, high-profile celebrity and a low-budget Western film set on a remote ranch.

The 16 jurors — 11 women and five men — come from a region where gun ownership and safety trends are strong, influenced by backcountry hunting.

Four of the jurors will be considered alternates while the other 12 will deliberate once they receive the case.

The shooting death of cinematographer Hutchins, a 42-year-old rising star in her profession, nearly three years ago sent shockwaves through the film industry and led to a felony charge against Baldwin that could carry up to 18 months in prison.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty. He entered the courtroom with a disposable coffee cup in his hand. His wife Hilaria Baldwin and his brother, Stephen Baldwin, sat nearby in the audience, among the defendant’s relatives and friends.

He sat surrounded by his lawyers, dressed in a dark blue suit, in the courthouse in Santa Fe, a short drive from the ranch where the scenes of Rust take place.

Baldwin claimed the gun was fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it at Hutchins, who was behind the camera.

Unaware that it was loaded with a live round, he said he pulled the hammer – not the trigger – and the shot fired.

Prosecutors said they will present evidence that Baldwin “deviated from the script” and failed to follow basic industry standards for gun safety when he pointed the firearm at Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.

Baldwin, the star of Beetlejuice, Glengarry Glen Ross and 30 Rock, has been a household name as an actor and public figure for more than three decades.

In court documents, defense attorneys pointed out that the gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, has already been found responsible for the shooting, as well as testimony that the gun was checked by an assistant director before being given to Baldwin — and that the shooting was incomprehensible and shocking to the entire film crew because of their belief that there was no live ammunition on set.

Prosecutors have two possible standards for proving the charge. One is based on the negligent use of a firearm. The other is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin acted with reckless disregard or indifference to the safety of others.

Testimony at trial will focus on deficiencies observed during a final safety check of the gun before Baldwin began training with it, as well as the mechanics of the gun and whether it could have fired without pulling the trigger.

The live bullet that killed Hutchins also injured director Joel Souza.

Published: by Radio NewsHub