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Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ trial live: Prosecutor claims star ‘pretended to have real gun’ before fatal shooting

Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ trial live: Prosecutor claims star ‘pretended to have real gun’ before fatal shooting

Video: Alec Baldwin spotted on the set of Rust after

Opening statements in Alec Baldwin’s manslaughter trial began with the prosecution telling jurors that the Hollywood star ignored gun safety rules before fatally shooting a cinematographer on the set of the film Rust.

“When someone plays pretend with a real gun,” Special Prosecutor Erlinda Johnson said Wednesday in Santa Fe court. “And that person doesn’t follow the cardinal rule of gun safety … people die.”

The high-profile trial began Tuesday with jury selection and the case is expected to be in their hands after just nine days of testimony, the judge said.

It’s been nearly three years since a rehearsal for a shooting scene in the Western film ended tragically when a toy gun Baldwin was holding went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin, 66, insisted he did not pull the trigger of the gun and did not know it contained a live round, claiming it was fired accidentally.

He is charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter for the October 2021 incident and faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Baldwin arrived at the Santa Fe courthouse flanked by his wife Hilaria – accompanied by their youngest child – and his brother Stephen.

The trial comes three months after the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in April and sentenced to the maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

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Defense claims Baldwin was assured his gun was “cold”

Spiro told jurors that the cast and crew were repeatedly assured that Baldwin’s gun was “cold.”

A cold weapon doesn’t mean there’s no live ammunition, he told the jury. “It means there’s not even blanks or dummy ammunition in it. It means it’s inert and can’t do any harm. It can’t hurt anybody,” he said.

Spiro also described the atmosphere as calm on set that day.

“No one had any idea that this poisonous, toxic element had been inserted into this magic that they were creating, but that’s what happened,” he said. “It came into this place. It killed one extraordinary person, it injured another, and it changed lives forever.”

He then explained the roles of the people on set, placing the blame on armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and David Hall, the set’s first assistant director.

“On a film set, everyone has a role to play. The armorer equips. The director directs. The actor plays,” he said. “They work in harmony, but their responsibilities are shared.”

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 5:20 p.m.

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Defense Says ‘Alec Baldwin Committed No Crime’

Alex Spiro, one of Baldwin’s attorneys, is now speaking out.

He told jurors that Hutchins’ fatal shooting was an “unspeakable tragedy, but Alec Baldwin committed no crime.”

“You have to step back and remember what they were doing on a movie set. Movies and magic have always been closely associated… throughout this country for many decades,” he said.

Spiro drew attention to how a live bullet came to be on the set of the film Rust, insisting there was no evidence Baldwin had anything to do with the bullet entering the gun.

“He was an actor, he was playing Harlan Rust,” he said. “An actor playing a character can act deadly, but not on a movie set. Those cardinal rules are not cardinal rules on a movie set.”

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 4:52 PM

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Baldwin pulled the trigger, prosecutors say

Johnson told the jury they will see video footage during the trial of Baldwin using the gun on set.

“You will see the video footage of the multiple occasions when the defendant used this firearm on set, and every time he fired it, it worked perfectly,” Johnson said.

“And in fact, you will hear evidence that the defendant himself admitted in December 2021 that this gun had no mechanical problems.”

It comes after Baldwin said he did not pull the trigger the day Hutchins was shot.

Johnson also said the firearm was tested multiple times by an FBI forensic expert, who determined the weapon had no defects and was in working order.

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 4:48 PM

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Baldwin failed to complete security checks

The prosecution told the jury that Baldwin routinely failed to complete security checks with armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on the set of “Rust.”

Johnson said Baldwin was filmed during his mandatory gun safety training “running around and shooting his gun.”

She also said he “didn’t want to offend” Gutierrez-Reed by conducting checks every time he was given a gun.

“You will learn that one of the bullets in that revolver was a real bullet, and the evidence will show that Ms. Gutierrez then handed the gun to the defendant,” Johnson said.

“And what you will learn is that once again, the defendant failed to have his firearm safety checked by this gunsmith.”

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 4:43 PM

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Prosecutor says Baldwin asked for ‘bigger gun’

Prosecutor Johnson said Baldwin asked to be given the “biggest gun” available for the film.

She told the jury at her opening that they would hear evidence that the firearm was sold to the Rust group in perfect working order.

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 4:31 p.m.

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Attorney Gloria Allred Speaks Ahead of Trial

Gloria Allred, attorney for Halyna Hutchins’ parents and sister, speaks before court.

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 4:25 p.m.

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Start of the opening of proceedings

Special Prosecutor Erlinda Johnson began her opening statement.

“When someone plays pretend, with a real gun.

And this person is not following the cardinal rule of firearm safety… People are dying.

Johnson says the budget for “Rust” was tight and the team lacked experience.

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 4:22 p.m.

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Stephen Baldwin sits behind his brother Alec Baldwin in court

Stephen Baldwin, Alec Baldwin’s actor brother, sits behind him in court Wednesday.

Opening statements are expected to begin shortly.

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 3:52 PM

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Alec Baldwin’s trial begins on day two

Alec Baldwin’s trial resumed for a second day in Santa Fe, with a jury selected Tuesday.

Baldwin is in court and his opening statements will begin shortly.

The debates can be streamed live here:

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 3:49 PM

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Prosecutors say they will present evidence showing Baldwin “deviated from the script”

Prosecutors say they will present evidence that Baldwin “deviated from the script” and failed to follow basic industry standards for gun safety when he pointed the firearm at Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.

“Ultimately, the prosecutor’s main theory is that it was a gun, and Baldwin had a gun in his hand, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a movie set or a hunting safety class, you’re responsible for what comes out of the barrel,” said John Day, a defense attorney and former prosecutor based in Santa Fe.

Testimony at the trial will focus on the flaws in the gun’s final safety check before Baldwin began training with it, as well as the gun’s mechanism and the ability to fire without pulling the trigger. The live round that killed Hutchins also wounded director Joel Souza.

Andrea CavallierJuly 10, 2024 3:45 p.m.