Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-baggy-eyed-alec-baldwin,-66,-is-branded-‘sick’-outside-of-court-as-opening-statements-take-place-in-trial-over-fatal-shooting-of-rust-cinematographer-that-could-see-him-land-behind-bars-for-18-monthsAlert – Baggy-eyed Alec Baldwin, 66, is branded ‘sick’ outside of court as opening statements take place in trial over fatal shooting of Rust cinematographer that could see him land behind bars for 18 months

A somber Alec Baldwin was branded ‘sick’ as he entered court for the second day of his manslaughter trial over the fatal shooting on the set of his ill-fated Western film ‘Rust’.

The baggy-eyed actor, 66, arrived on Wednesday in a convoy of three SUVs wearing a dark suit  and avoiding questions from reporters camped outside the Santa Fe courthouse.

Baldwin and his wife Hilaria, 40, appeared at the courthouse as opening statements were set to begin in the case involving the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the western film in October 2021.

Baldwin was a producer and the star of Rust when he shot dead cinematographer Hutchins, 42, a mother-of-one, while filming with a prop gun that had a live round inside it. The film’s director Joel Souza was also injured.

The stakes for Baldwin are incredibly high and were starkly illustrated in February when Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 26, the armorer on the set, went on trial and was found guilty for the same charges in the same court.

Outside court attorney Gloria Allred held a photo of Hutchins, her mother Olga and Hutchins’ son.

Allred is representing Hutchins’ family in Ukraine as part of a civil negligence lawsuit they have brought against Baldwin in the US.

The actor, 66, arrived in court on Wednesday in a convoy of three SUVs while wearing a dark suit and avoided questions from reporters

The actor, 66, arrived in court on Wednesday in a convoy of three SUVs while wearing a dark suit and avoided questions from reporters

Once inside, baggy-eyed  Baldwin sat at the defense table and appeared nervous while Hilaria and his brother Stephen Baldwin, both seen behind the star, sat behind him in the public gallery

Once inside, baggy-eyed  Baldwin sat at the defense table and appeared nervous while Hilaria and his brother Stephen Baldwin, both seen behind the star, sat behind him in the public gallery

According to Allred, the family had been unable to come because of the ongoing conflict in the country, saying: ‘We would like the truth, we would like justice.’

She added: ‘Baldwin, though his attorneys have attacked us unfairly, suggested they didn’t have a close relationship with Halyna which is false.

‘I know Alec brought one of his seven children, he’s apparently signed up for a reality show. This is not a reality show!

Halyna Hutchins died after being hit by a bullet from the prop gun that Baldwin was handling

Halyna Hutchins died after being hit by a bullet from the prop gun that Baldwin was handling 

‘This is a trial of involuntary manslaughter of a young, talented cinematographer. She had a right to be safe on that set as did every member of the crew.

‘I don’t know whether Alec Baldwin decided to make holding his baby or his wife holding the baby and then handing her to a nanny or a producer [part of] the reality show.

‘It is cynical and potentially a calculated public relations move to make him seem more sympathetic to the jury’.

Holding up the photo, Allred said: ‘This is a child as well. This is Halyna’s child who no longer has a mother.

‘Let’s not forget, this is a real case in Santa Fe, New Mexico and it has to be taken seriously!’

When asked what she thought him maybe maybe filming his reality show from jail, she added: ‘I don’t know what his plans are except if he uses this trial and his children as part of a reality show, I think it’s sick.’

In the court, Baldwin sat at the defense table and appeared nervous while Hilaria and his brother Stephen Baldwin, who is also an actor, sat behind him in the public gallery. 

In her opening statement, Erlinda Johnson, a special prosecutor appointed to the case, said that Baldwin had ‘violated the cardinal rules of firearm safety’ and that he was ‘reckless’ on set. 

Baldwin is being represented by Alex Spiro, a high profile lawyer whose other clients include Elon Musk, Jay-Z, Mick Jagger and Naomi Osaka

Baldwin is being represented by Alex Spiro, a high profile lawyer whose other clients include Elon Musk, Jay-Z, Mick Jagger and Naomi Osaka

The Emmy award winning actor, 66, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter

The Emmy award winning actor, 66, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter

Johnson said that Baldwin had requested the biggest gun available after he arrived on the set in in October 2021. 

She told jurors: ‘When someone plays make believe with a real gun in a real life workplace and while playing with the gun violates the cardinal rules of gun safety people’s lives are endangered and somebody could be killed. 

‘That’s what this case is about. It’s simple, straightforward. That someone who played make believe with a real gun and violated the cardinal rules of firearm safety is the defendant, Alexander Baldwin.’

Johnson said that the armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was a ‘very young woman’ and ‘inexperienced’.

She told the court that Baldwin didn’t do a safety check with Gutierrez-Reed because he ‘didn’t want to offend her’.

Johnson also criticized Baldwin’s claim that he didn’t pull the trigger saying that a firearms analyst ruled that Baldwin must have pulled the trigger.

The analyst with the FBI only got the gun to fire without pulling the trigger by breaking it during an ‘accidental discharge test’, the court heard.

Prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson speaks during actor Alec Baldwin's hearing at Santa Fe County District Court

Prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson speaks during actor Alec Baldwin’s hearing at Santa Fe County District Court

Baldwin, seen here outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's offices on the day of the shooting,  was sensationally charged for a second time in January this year

Baldwin, seen here outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s offices on the day of the shooting,  was sensationally charged for a second time in January this year 

Baldwin, Hutchins and armorer Gutierrez-Reed are circled on the set of Rust alongside fellow cast members and staffers

Baldwin, Hutchins and armorer Gutierrez-Reed are circled on the set of Rust alongside fellow cast members and staffers

The movie was being shot on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe

The movie was being shot on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe

While defense lawyer Alex Spiro told jurors that the death of Hutchins had been an ‘unspeakable tragedy’ but that Baldwin committed no crime.

In his opening statement, Spiro said: ‘There were people responsible for ensuring the safety of the firearm. Those people failed in their duties.

‘On this set there was a real bullet something that should never be on a movie set. You will hear no evidence that Baldwin had anything to do with that real bullet being bought on that set.

‘The actor’s job is to act, he’s Harlan Rust, he’s an outlaw running for his life. In this incident he’s pulling a six shooter.

‘His mind is in the being of another, a century away, an outlaw. He must be able to take that weapon and use it in ways that would be lethal in the real world but not on a movie set.’

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed poses for mugshot after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed poses for mugshot after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter 

Spiro told the court that investigators in the case saw Baldwin as being a ‘shiny object’ they could go for.

He said: ‘Instead of trying to find the source of the lethal bullet they focused on Mr Baldwin.

‘But Mr Baldwin was like any other actor…safety proceeds before the actor. A properly cleared gun cannot hurt anyone’.

Baldwin was said to be in a state of ‘shocking grief’ following the incident, according to Spiro who described him as being a ‘father, an artist, worried about his family’.

Spiro then criticized the law enforcement in the case saying that they didn’t have a case against Baldwin and blasted them for destroying the gun.

He said: ‘This gun had a hair trigger. The owner’s manual of this gun says if you load it with a live round and you drop it, this type of gun can accidentally go off.

‘The destruction of the gun is symbolic of this case. They weren’t really investigating any more, they were trying to disprove Alec, to get Alec, to have this day [in court]’.

Attorney Alex Spiro looks on during actor Alec Baldwin's hearing at Santa Fe County District Court

Attorney Alex Spiro looks on during actor Alec Baldwin’s hearing at Santa Fe County District Court

Former Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputy Nicholas LeFleur was called as the first witness in the case, with the jury being shown footage from his body cam that he wore that day.

LeFleur was first on the scene, with his body cam capturing him arriving on the set, getting out his car and retrieving a bag from his truck before running into the church.

Hutchins can be seen laying on her back inside the set with tubes coming out of her body as medical teams tend to her.

LeFleur can be heard saying: ‘One female shot in the chest, male shot in the stomach’ and calling for an air evacuation.

Director Joel Souza can be heard shouting out in pain and is seen thrashing his legs around in the clip.

One person says of Souza: ‘He’s good he’s got a (inaudible) shoulder blade’, apparently referring to a bullet. Hutchins’ face appears pale but appears to move her arm to behind her head.

LeFleur was first on the scene, with his body cam capturing him arriving on the set, getting out his car and retrieving a bag from his truck before running into the church

LeFleur was first on the scene, with his body cam capturing him arriving on the set, getting out his car and retrieving a bag from his truck before running into the church

Hutchins can be seen laying on her back inside the set with tubes coming out of her body as medical teams tend to her

Hutchins can be seen laying on her back inside the set with tubes coming out of her body as medical teams tend to her

Baldwin appeared to struggle at one point while watching the footage and put his hand on his forehead. His wife and brother watched intently from the public gallery

Baldwin appeared to struggle at one point while watching the footage and put his hand on his forehead. His wife and brother watched intently from the public gallery

A woman helping Hutchins to breathe says: ‘Halyna deep breath, deep breath there you go. Deep breath Halyna. Jesus’.

Baldwin appeared to struggle at one point while watching the footage and put his hand on his forehead. His wife and brother watched intently from the public gallery.

Several crew members and paramedics could be seen lifting Hutchins up on a stretcher. One person had a mask over her mouth and was pumping it to help her breathe. 

The footage also showed Baldwin in the immediate aftermath of the incident, speaking with crew members despite being ordered not to by cops. 

Dave Halls, the First Assistant Director, who had handed Baldwin the gun also arrives on the scene.

One man can be heard saying that crew members had ‘cleared’ the gun at the request of Halls, something they had witnessed.  

Halls could be seen making a shaking motion and discussing a shake test – the court has previously heard that dummy rounds would have made a noise when shaken.

Halls would later take a plea deal and serve months probation after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge. 

Photos taken by detectives with Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office show the aftermath of the incident in October 2021

Photos taken by detectives with Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office show the aftermath of the incident in October 2021

Law enforcement officer Nicholas LeFleur testifies during actor Alec Baldwin's hearing at Santa Fe County District Court

Law enforcement officer Nicholas LeFleur testifies during actor Alec Baldwin’s hearing at Santa Fe County District Court

The court also heard the 911 call made from a member of the crew who identified herself as a script supervisor.

The woman says to the dispatcher: ‘Two people accidentally shot on the set by a prop gun. We need help. This f****** AD,’ in an apparent reference to First Assistant Director, Dave Halls.

The woman continued: ‘That yelled at me at lunch. This motherf*****. He’s supposed to check the guns, he’s responsible’.

The second witness to take the stand in the case was Timoteo Benavidez who at the time of the incident was a lieutenant with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department.

Footage captured by Benavidez body cam was shown to jurors, in which he can be heard saying: ‘One shot in the chest and another shot in the stomach.’

The jury was shown the body cam footage taken by Benavidez on the day Hutchins was shot.

The second witness to take the stand in the case was Timoteo Benavidez who at the time of the incident was a lieutenant with the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department, seen here

The second witness to take the stand in the case was Timoteo Benavidez who at the time of the incident was a lieutenant with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, seen here

In court he said that it was the ‘biggest’ crime scene he had ever been to, saying: ‘There were people everywhere. I couldn’t distinguish who it was, actors, film personnel, or bystanders. But there was a lot of people there’.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was shown in the video, the first time she has been seen during the trial.

Benavidez said he sought her out to find the gun and make sure it didn’t go off agai, he can be heard asking her ‘How do I know this is the gun?’.

The jury was also shown the prop cart that was used on set and the disorganized pile of items on top of it including gun belts and ammunition. A second gun lay on the top along with two loose rounds next to it.

The trial is the culmination of a nightmare for Mr Baldwin that has lasted for nearly three years and has finally come to court.

The Emmy award winning actor, 66, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The case has had a long and tortured path to trial: Baldwin was originally charged in January 2023 with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. 

They were dropped three months later in light of new evidence, prosecutors said, adding they needed more time to investigate.

Baldwin was sensationally charged for a second time in January this year with the same charges.

Baldwin and his wife are currently filming a reality TV series about their family. It is not clear if a camera crew is trailing them in New Mexico, but the show is due to air in 2025 meaning filming is likely underway now.

The case is expected to hear eight days of evidence and argument, followed by deliberations.

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