It was October 2021 when in a secluded film set in Sante Fe, New Mexico (US), cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died in hospital after being shot in the chest by actor and producer Alec Baldwin.
The episode, an accident, happened while shooting a new Western film, Rust. Back then, what was supposed to be a harmless prop gun used by the American actor resulted to be loaded with a real bullet, which was lethal for Hutchins.
Finally, this week, the angriness of the Ukrainian cinematographer’s husband and family has been partially relieved by the final decision of Santa Fe's District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Initially, when the investigation started in 2021, film producers were “fined more than $136,000 by the New Mexico Environment Department for failing to enforce safety protocols” because of their negligence. This clamorous episode shook the entire world, particularly the cinematic industry, which had advocated for more safety regulations on sets for ages.
Now, after more than one year, attorney Carmack-Altwies finally proclaimed the verdict. Arguing that: “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice,” she sentenced Baldwin to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
Additionally, exact charges were expressed for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer, while the film's assistant director David Halls will spend six months serving probation after entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon.
As reported, even if the charges have not yet been filed, Carmack-Altwies claims that they will be by the end of January, affirming that “If any of these three people, Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez Reed or David Halls, had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today”.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the end of the story.
Alec Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, was very disappointed with the sentence of Santa Fe's District Attorney, claiming that this was "a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
The battle of Nikes does not stop because, as he argued, "Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun, or anywhere on the movie set,” passing on the responsibility to who was supposed to check the props properly.
Baldwin’s lawyer continues: “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win”.
Since the accident has happened, the actor has kept claiming that he did not pull the trigger of the prop gun and he did not know that it was loaded: “I don't know what happened on that set. I don't know how that bullet arrived in that gun. I don't know”.
Following the accident, Baldwin immediately filed an accusation against a series of crew members, including Hannah Gutierrez Reed, claiming that they did not check the gun correctly.
Unfortunately, it seems like the new sentence that arrived on Thursday will not end this terrible incident. On the contrary, the sequence of events goes on and this sentence appears to be only a new chapter of a long and tragic story where new charges will be filed, further trials will take place, and where, indeed, negligence will be the main character.
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