Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty, waives first court appearance for ‘Rust’ involuntary manslaughter charges

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(NEW YORK) — Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty and waived his first court appearance after being charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting on the set of his film Rust, court officials announced Thursday.

Baldwin and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were both charged last month with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021.

First assistant director David Halls has already agreed to plead no contest for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The plea agreement is pending a judge’s approval, prosecutors have said.

All three were scheduled to make their first court appearances remotely on Friday, though Baldwin and Halls filed a waiver of first appearance this week and no hearing will be held for them, a New Mexico court official said. Both pleaded not guilty to their charges in their waivers.

District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer also issued an order setting conditions of Baldwin’s release, including that he must not possess any firearms, not consume alcohol and have no contact with any potential witnesses unless it’s related to filming the movie.

Gutierrez-Reed’s hearing is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. MST Friday.

The charges followed a lengthy investigation into the on-set shooting, which has also spawned multiple lawsuits, including from Hutchins’ family.

In the statement of probable cause, investigator Robert Shilling charged that Baldwin, who was listed as the primary producer of Rust, “failed to act to mitigate or correct the reckless safety violations, neither in his capacity as actor nor producer.”

Shilling also said that evidence showed that Baldwin had his finger inside the trigger, and that the trigger was pulled — contradicting Baldwin’s statements saying he never pulled the trigger — and that no safety meeting was conducted on the day of the fatal shooting, based on statements and evidence.

In Gutierrez-Reed’s charging document, Shilling claimed that the armorer’s “deviation from known standards, practice and protocol directly caused the fatal death of Hutchins.” That included failing to insist that Baldwin have proper firearm training nor correct him on “dangerous” safety violations such as pointing the weapon at people and having his finger on the trigger, not ensuring that a fake gun was used in a rehearsal scene, leaving the set before the fatal shooting and allowing Halls to handle the firearm unsupervised, according to Shilling.

On Friday, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney’s Office dropped the gun enhancement charge — a crime that would have carried a maximum five-year sentence if convicted — against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed.

The decision came after Baldwin’s attorneys filed a motion arguing that prosecutors “committed a basic legal error,” and that the firearm enhancement didn’t apply at the time of the shooting. The accident occurred in October 2021, but the current version of the law did not take effect until May 2022, the attorneys said.

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said they removed the enhancement “in order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys.”

Baldwin’s legal team has also filed a motion seeking to disqualify Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies, arguing there is a conflict since Reeb is also an elected member of the New Mexico House of Representative.

Production of Rust, which has been on hold since the shooting on the Santa Fe set, is scheduled to resume in the spring at Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana, producers announced this month.

Director Joel Souza, who was also injured in the shooting, is set to return, while Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, will serve as an executive producer, Rust Movie Productions said.

New crew members will include two safety officers and cinematographer Bianca Cline, who will step in to “complete Halyna’s vision for the film,” the production company said in a statement.

The production will also “bar any use of working weapons and any form of ammunition,” the company said. “Live ammunition is — and always was — prohibited on set.”

The release did not name Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed or Halls among the returning crew.

Plans to resume filming were first announced last year, when Hutchins’ family reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit against the producers of the film.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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