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Alec Baldwin may soon be criminally charged in 'Rust' shooting, new letter shows

Yahoo Entertainment US 9/26/2022 Taryn Ryder

Alec Baldwin could soon face criminal charges for Halyna Hutchins's death. The actor has repeatedly denied responsibility for last year's shooting on the set of Rust and recently said it's unlikely he'll be prosecuted — but that's up to the Santa Fe district attorney.

DA Mary Carmack-Altwies filed an emergency request for $635,500, funds she says are necessary to prosecute up to four people in connection with the accident. The Los Angeles Times obtained a letter in which Carmack-Altwies lays out that her office is considering homicide charges, as well as gun violations, against four individuals.

Alec Baldwin could face criminal charges for the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust . (Photo: Reuters) © Provided by Yahoo Entertainment US Alec Baldwin could face criminal charges for the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust . (Photo: Reuters)

"During the filming of [Rust], Alec Baldwin shot and killed Halyna Hutchins and injured Joel Souza while rehearsing a scene. Many individuals had handled the gun that ultimately killed Hutchins and injured [director Joel] Souza," Carmack-Altwies wrote in the request, which was also obtained by the New York Post

Carmack-Altwies notes that "one of the possible defendants is well known movie actor Alec Baldwin."

"Since October of [2021], my office has been waiting for evidence to be examined by the FBI. The results of the investigation have now been returned to my office. Only a few items are outstanding but are expected any day," Carmack-Altwies adds. The DA's office was granted $317,750 for a potential prosecution.

Baldwin's lawyer tells Yahoo Entertainment it's premature to speculate that the actor could be criminally charged. 

"Some media reports today draw false conclusions based on a letter from the Santa Fe District Attorney. The DA has made clear that she has not received the sheriff's report or made any decisions about who, if anyone, might be charged in this case," says attorney Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel. "And during my communications with the DA's office just a few weeks ago, after the August 30 funding request was submitted, I was told that it would be premature to discuss the case because they had not yet reviewed the file or deliberated about their charging decision. It is irresponsible to report otherwise. The DA's office must be given the space to review this matter without unfounded speculation and innuendo."

District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies speaks at a news conference after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film set of the movie Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo: Reuters) © Provided by Yahoo Entertainment US District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies speaks at a news conference after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film set of the movie Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo: Reuters)

Baldwin, who was also a producer on the Western film, has claimed in interviews he did not pull the trigger. However, a FBI forensic report released in August determined the .45 Colt could not have been fired without someone pulling the trigger. The report also confirmed that 150 live rounds of ammunition were found on the set.

In an interview with CNN, Baldwin once again shifted the blame to Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who served as the armorer and props assistant on the film, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun during rehearsals and declared the gun "cold." (A "cold" gun means it does not contain live ammo.)

"I'm pretty confident neither one of them should ever work in a film set again," Baldwin declared. "I sincerely believe ... [investigators are] going to say that this was an accident. It's tragic."

Baldwin, who just welcomed his seventh child with wife Hilaria, said he's lost five jobs in the last year over the incident.

"There are two people who didn't do what they were supposed to do," he added. "I'm not sitting there saying I want them to, you know, go to prison, or I want their lives to be hell. I don't want that, but I want everybody to know that those are the two people that are responsible for what happened."

Baldwin hired a private investigator to look into the shooting and felt he wouldn't be criminally charged. The 30 Rock star said the accident has "taken years off my life."

This isn't Baldwin's only legal headache. He and other producers are facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Hutchins's widow, Matt, with whom she shared one young son. 

MORE: Alec Baldwin feared he would be killed by Trump supporters over Rust shooting

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