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Alec Baldwin Faces Trial for 'Rust' Involuntary Manslaughter Case

Jury Selection Underway for Baldwin’s Trial in 2021 Shooting Death of Cinematographer

Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial for the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins began on Tuesday in a New Mexico courtroom. The 66-year-old actor was present for the start of jury selection, having pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The trial is taking place roughly 18 miles from Bonanza Creek Ranch, the set of the western film “Rust,” where the incident occurred. During rehearsals, a gun Baldwin was holding discharged a bullet, fatally striking Hutchins. Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger.

Key Details of the Trial:

  • Jury Selection: Dozens of potential jurors will be questioned, though cameras will be turned off during proceedings to protect their privacy. The trial is expected to last nine days.

  • Defense and Prosecution Rights: The defense can dismiss up to five jurors without cause, while the prosecution gets three.

  • Judge’s Statement: Judge Marlowe Sommer expressed confidence in selecting a jury within one day, despite the high-profile nature of the case.

  • Defense Strategy: Baldwin’s attorney, Alex Spiro, stated he has never failed to pick a jury in one day and does not expect this case to be different.

On Monday, Judge Sommer ruled that Baldwin’s role as a co-producer on “Rust” is not relevant to the trial. Prosecutors had hoped to use this to demonstrate Baldwin’s alleged indifference to safety. However, prosecutors did achieve a win when the judge excluded a summary of findings from a state investigation that placed most of the blame on the film’s assistant director.

In a related case, the film’s weapons supervisor, 26-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death.

If convicted, Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison, the same sentence received by Gutierrez-Reed. The outcome of this trial will determine Baldwin’s fate and potentially set precedents for safety standards and responsibilities in the film industry.

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