Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-hand-over-his-mouth,-baldwin-watched-the-video-of-himself-with-the-gun…-jan-moir-is-in-court-as-the-hollywood-actor’s-trial-over-fatal-shooting-gets-under-wayAlert – Hand over his mouth, Baldwin watched the video of himself with the gun… JAN MOIR is in court as the Hollywood actor’s trial over fatal shooting gets under way

At 8am, with the temperature already creeping past 70 degrees, Alec Baldwin, accompanied by his wife Hilaria and his posse of booted and suited lawyers, arrived at court in Santa Fe.

Who knows what the strategy is, but Hilaria has taken to walking into the courthouse separately from her husband, moving quickly across the plaza with her yoga queen slink and her glossy hair swinging, ignoring all questions from reporters.

Still impaired by a recent hip operation, Baldwin’s progress is slower and more sluggish. Heavy of spirit and trundling of gait, he looks like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. As well he might.

Baldwin is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on his film Rust in October 2021.

On set at the Bonanza Creek film ranch 20 miles south of Santa Fe, he was pointing a gun at Hutchins during a rehearsal inside a church when it went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In his curdled honour, the usual ­circus had assembled outside the court, where 41 news organisations from around the world are credentialed to cover the event.

Giving interviews in their midst was 83-year-old Gloria Allred, the high-profile lawyer who has been representing the victim’s family. Allred held up a photograph of Hutchins in silent accusation, explaining that her family could not travel from their native Ukraine because of the war.

She is representing them in a civil lawsuit they have filed against Mr Baldwin and expressed some dismay over his upcoming reality show, The Baldwins. ‘This is not a reality show!’ she cried, adding that it would be ‘sick’ if he were to include moments from this trial in his new series. To be fair, there is absolutely no evidence that this is his intention.

Inside the courtroom we were soon on to opening statements in the first day of the 66-year-old actor’s trial.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the young Rust armourer responsible for on set gun safety, is already behind bars after being charged with the same offence.

She is currently appealing her sentence, but the prosecution wasted no time in blaming him for her lack of safety checks and gun protocols. 

‘Each time he handled this gun he did not do a safety check with this inexperienced armourer and the reason he did not do this was because he didn’t want to offend her,’ claimed prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson. 

‘He violated the cardinal rules of gun safety.’ 

For the defence, Alex Spiro said: ‘This was an unspeakable tragedy, but Alec Baldwin committed no crime. 

He was an actor acting.’ Spiro countered that the old adage saying you should never point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them does not apply here.

‘These cardinal rules are not cardinal rules on a movie set. In films we see people pointing guns at each other all the time.’

Then he went off on a cheesy little rap about how films had to make it look real, baby.

‘The stuntman must leap. The snake must hiss,’ he blathered before the prosecution objected and he moved on, asking the jury to make a separation between Alec Baldwin the actor and Alec Baldwin the person.

The jury was shown footage of cast and crew rehearsing the fateful scene. There was Alec Baldwin in costume as the outlaw Harland Rust, complete with Stetson on his head and rascally beard, pulling the gun out from his shoulder holster, again and again.

At the defence table Alec Baldwin, the person, observed this with his hand over his mouth. A few rows behind him, his wife Hilaria learned forward in her seat, chin resting in her hands, watching avidly.

From my seat in the courtroom press benches, it seemed obvious that Baldwin’s finger was on the trigger. In the past, Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger, a crucial but disputed factor in his case.

‘The evidence you will hear is that is not possible, the gun will not discharge without pulling that trigger,’ said Johnson for the prosecution. ‘Even if he did,’ said Spiro for the defence, ‘that would only make his statement incorrect. That doesn’t make him guilty of homicide.’ Towards the end of the morning session there was a reminder of the tragedy at the heart of this case.

We were shown disturbing first responder lapel-cam footage of 42-year-old Hutchins fighting for her life on the dirt floor of the Bonanza Creek set. ‘Halyna, Halyna, deep breath, deep breath,’ a voice cries. ‘Good girl, good girl,’ says another. ‘Jesus Christ,’ someone exclaims as a medic rushes in with an ­oxygen tank.

Their panic is palpable as the stricken woman is stretchered into a helicopter before being flown to hospital, where doctors could not save her.

In the courtroom, Alec Baldwin watched on impassively, making notes on a yellow legal pad. Behind him, his wife, the mother of his seven young children looked drawn and tense.

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