Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to new involuntary manslaughter charge over Halyna Hutchins’s Rust shooting

Connie Queline

Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to new involuntary manslaughter charge over Halyna Hutchins’s Rust shooting

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Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Ms Hutchins was shot dead on the set of Rust, a forthcoming Western filmed near Santa Fe in New Mexico in October 2021.

Mr Baldwin, 65, had been practicing firing a pistol for a scene.

Similar charges were dropped in April, just two weeks before he was due to go on trial, but New Mexico prosecutors say there is new forensic evidence.

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The actor entered the not guilty plea in a court filing on Wednesday, a day before a scheduled virtual court appearance in a Santa Fe court, which will now not take place.

He was charged on 19 January in New Mexico after local prosecutors said “additional facts” had emerged from forensic tests on the weapon used in the shooting, in which director Joel Souza was also wounded.

Halyna Hutchins

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Mr Baldwin has maintained he did not pull the trigger of the Colt .45 pistol and only drew back its hammer.

He has also argued he is not at fault for Ms Hutchins’ death because he did not know the weapon contained live rounds and because no live ammunition was supposed to be on set.

But special prosecutors in New Mexico said in October that they had commissioned forensic experts to reconstruct the weapon, after it had been broken during FBI testing.

They said doing so had revealed that the incident could only have taken place if the trigger had been pulled.

“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” their report concluded.

The actor – who has expressed “shock and sadness” at Ms Hutchins’ death – said in recent court filings that he had struggled to find acting work since the incident.

When prosecutors dropped involuntary manslaughter charges in April they warned that they could be refiled as investigations continued.

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