It’s been nearly a year and a half since the tragic accidental shooting on the set of the Western Rust, which ended with the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the wounding of director Joel Souza. Last month two people were charged: the film’s actor-producer Alec Baldwin, who unwittingly discharged the gun, and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. At the time it was believed Baldwin, if convicted, could face up to five years in jail. Not anymore.
As per The New York Times, prosecutors have downgraded the involuntary manslaughter charges against both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed. Baldwin’s lawyers had argued that the Santa Fe County district attorney’s office had erroneously charged their client under a version of a New Mexica firearm law that wasn’t passed until months after the incident, which occurred in October of 2021.
Now, instead of five years in prison, both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed face a maximum of 18 months.
When the charges were formally made against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed, prosecutors claimed that the former had not taken gun safety training seriously, that he was “distracted and talking on his cell phone.” They also alleged that Baldwin would point the weapon at people and even rest his finger on the trigger.
Baldwin has claimed that he was told the gun he was given was “cold,” that it didn’t contain live rounds and was thus safe to handle. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers, meanwhile, have argued that she shouldn’t be convicted because she was not holding the gun when it went off. They also claim she did check each round each day.