Alec Baldwin Pleads Not Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter in 'Rust' Shooting

The embattled actor did not appear in New Mexico court to enter his plea.

Alec Baldwin has formally entered a not guilty plea to a manslaughter charge over his role in the fatal shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

According to court docs, obtained by ET, the 64-year-old actor waived his right to appear Friday before First Judicial District court Judge Mary Sommer in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, and have his rights explained to him by the judge. Baldwin instead opted to enter his plea Thursday through his attorney, Luke Nikas.

Sommer also approved an order setting several conditions for Baldwin's release, including staying out of legal trouble, not possess firearms or dangerous weapons, not consume alcohol, and maintain contact with his attorney. He's also been allowed to have "contact with potential witnesses only in the capacity laid out herein: In connection w/ completing Rust and other business matters; provided, however, that Defendant is not permitted to discuss the accident at issue, or the substance of his or the witnesses' potential testimony in the case."

Rust assistant director David Halls also did not appear in New Mexico court but pleaded not guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon. 

Baldwin's not guilty plea comes just days after Santa Fe prosecutors dropped the firearms enhancement charge against the actor. He faced up to five years in prison if convicted on that charge. Baldwin now faces a significantly reduced prison sentence, as the involuntary manslaughter charge calls for 18 months behind bars, if convicted.

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed also had the firearms enhancement charge dropped. Like Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed was charged with involuntary manslaughter for her role in Hutchins' shocking death in October 2021 on the set of Rust. She has not yet entered a plea.

"In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set. The prosecution's priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys,” New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney spokesperson Heather Brewer said in a statement this week. 

In January, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Hutchins.

The first charge, which is now the only remaining charge, is referred to as involuntary manslaughter. For this charge to be proved, there must be underlying negligence. This also includes a misdemeanor charge for negligent use of a firearm. Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The charge that was dropped is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in prison.

Baldwin's plea also comes just one day after it was announced that the Rust production will relocate to the Yellowstone Film Ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana.



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