Exactly one year after the shocking news of Alec Baldwin's involvement in the fatal shooting on the set of "Rust," the legal saga surrounding the tragedy is taking a dramatic turn. On Friday, a New Mexico grand jury indicted the actor again for manslaughter, reopening the case.
Baldwin, who has maintained his innocence and insists he never pulled the trigger on the antique firearm that tragically killed cameraman Halyna Hutchins, now faces a potential 18 months behind bars if convicted. The latest indictment presents two counts: manslaughter and manslaughter by use of a firearm "without due care or caution." The wording of the indictment underscores the central part of the prosecution's case, which states that Baldwin's actions showed a "complete disregard or indifference for the safety of others" and that the death was a foreseeable consequence of his handling of the weapon.
Baldwin's legal team, unsurprisingly, remains defiant. Speaking to Deadline, they said: "We look forward to our day in court," reiterating their unwavering belief in his innocence. This marks a significant development in the "Rust" case, especially since it comes after Assistant Director Dave Halls accepted a plea deal in October 2023.
Halls received six months of unsupervised probation for negligent use of a deadly weapon, a decision that many seen as a potential precursor to further actions against Baldwin and gunman Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Gutierrez-Reed, the person responsible for the gun on the set, still faces involuntary manslaughter charges of her own.
Although the details of her case remain largely secret, the potential sentence is in line with Baldwin's: a maximum of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Both she and Baldwin have pleaded not guilty, and Gutierrez-Reed's trial is scheduled for February 2024.
With the trial set to begin soon, there is a lot of public interest in this case, which is morbid to say the least. Alec Baldwin's re-indictment brings the "Rust" tragedy back into the spotlight, leaving key questions unresolved. With trials looming on the horizon, the coming months promise further developments in this disturbing event.