Alec Baldwin had ‘no control’ over emotions on ‘Rust’ set, prosecutors say

[ad_1]

New Mexico prosecutors accused Alec Baldwin of contributing to making the set of Western film “Rust” unsafe by having “no control” over his emotions before he shot a cinematographer — and alleged that attempts by the actor and his legal team to get the state’s case against him dismissed were deceptive and manipulative.

Prosecutors said Baldwin, 66, has dodged responsibility since a prop gun discharged in his hand during an informal rehearsal on Oct. 21, 2021, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

The accusations, laid out by special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis in a filing made public on Monday, suggest the prosecution intends to vigorously go after Baldwin, who was indicted by a grand jury in January on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Baldwin’s trial is scheduled for July in Santa Fe, and he has pleaded not guilty.

Morrissey and Lewis accused Baldwin’s lawyers of making “false or misleading” statements in pushing to get the indictment dismissed.

The prosecutors had previously dismissed involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin last year “to conduct further investigation,” but had warned charges could be refiled. In the most recent filing, they cast their decision to temporarily drop the charges as a show of good faith as their investigation continued.

On Monday, Morrissey wrote that she and Lewis have experienced “contrived and unwarranted personal attacks” from Baldwin, as well as “near countless lies and manipulation” from the actor’s legal team “for more than one year.”

Attorneys representing Baldwin did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Tuesday, but have previously called the charges against him “misguided,” and argued that Baldwin was not at fault because he was told the gun was not loaded with live bullets.

In their most recent filing, prosecutors, citing witness testimony, painted a picture in which Baldwin’s alleged “relentless rushing of the crew” and erratic behavior on set helped turn it into an unsafe environment where people cut corners with devastating consequences.

The actor “was frequently screaming and cursing at himself, at crew members or at no one and not for any particular reason,” Morrissey alleged.

The filing marks the latest chapter in the long-running legal saga around Hutchins’s death. “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month and is expected to be sentenced on April 15, after her attempts to challenge her conviction were unsuccessful.

Prosecutors have alleged that Gutierrez-Reed brought live ammunition on set and inadvertently loaded it into the .45 Long Colt revolver Baldwin then used during rehearsal, killing Hutchins. Baldwin has claimed he never pulled the trigger.

Morrissey and Lewis accused Gutierrez-Reed of negligence, but blamed Baldwin for not noticing that the 24-year-old “was not up to the job.”

In petitioning the court last month to dismiss the indictment against Baldwin, attorneys for the actor, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, claimed that prosecutors “publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their improprieties — without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two and a half years.”

“This is an abuse of the system, and an abuse of an innocent person whose rights have been trampled to the extreme,” they wrote.

The prosecutors’ filing goes into extensive detail about the interactions between Baldwin, his legal team and the prosecution over the past year.

Morrissey wrote that, after she offered Baldwin “a very favorable plea agreement” in October, she found out from a reporter that Baldwin’s attorneys had shared the confidential terms of the plea and were mounting a campaign to deflect attention away from any future plea hearing. She said she then found out that Baldwin had commissioned a documentary about Hutchins and was “actively pressuring material witnesses in the case” to take part in it. “It was at this point that the plea offer was rescinded, and the case was scheduled for grand jury,” she wrote.

Morrissey also shed light on what led to the initial dismissal of the charges last April. She said Nikas argued that the hammer of the revolver Baldwin used on the day of the “Rust” shooting — which had undergone forensic testing by the FBI — could have been modified. As a result, Morrissey said she agreed to dismiss the case against Baldwin, to spare the actor from having to pay lawyers “to defend him at the preliminary hearing only to later have the case dismissed if the forensic testing indicated that the hammer of the gun had indeed been modified.”

But Morrissey accused Baldwin of feigning confusion about the terms under which the case was dismissed, and said the forensic testing eventually “concluded that the trigger of the gun had to be pulled for the gun to have discharged on Oct. 21, 2021,” and that “the alleged modification of the hammer was simply damage caused when the FBI struck the hammer with the mallet so many times that it finally damaged the hammer and the sear.”

Samantha Chery and Herb Scribner contributed to this report.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Comment