Alec Baldwin had ‘no control of his emotions’ on Rust set, says new legal filing

Alec Baldwin had ‘no control of his emotions’ on Rust set, says new legal filing

Special prosecutors in New Mexico have claimed in a new legal filing that actor Alec Baldwin was unable to control his emotions on the sets of film Rust, resulting in “safety compromises” that led to the 2021 fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The prosecutors filed their arguments on Friday after Baldwin’s team moved in March to dismiss the indictment against the actor.

The 66-year-old actor is due to go to trial in July on involuntary manslaughter charges for his role in Hutchins’s death. In October 2021, a gun held by Baldwin during a rehearsal went off, killing Hutchins and wounding directorJoel Souza.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey alleged that Baldwin had repeatedly “changed his story” about the events of the shooting and had “absolutely no control of his own emotions”, according to the legal filing.

Baldwin frequently shouted and cursed at crew members and also, during his first days on set, demanded the crew and armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed “work faster”, according to the filing.

“To watch Mr Baldwin’s conduct on the set of Rust is to witness a man who has absolutely no control of his own emotions and absolutely no concern for how his conduct affects those around him,” Morrissey wrote.

In this image taken from video released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Alec Baldwin speaks with investigators (AP)
In this image taken from video released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Alec Baldwin speaks with investigators (AP)

“Witnesses have testified that it was this exact conduct that contributed to safety compromises on set.”

Gutierrez-Reed – who was responsible for firearm safety and storage on the movie’s set – was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in March. During the trial, prosecutors said the armourer exhibited an “astonishing lack of diligence” on set, often cutting corners or completely skipping out on gun safety measures.

She faces a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Prosecutors in the filing also allege that multiple crew members observed Gutierrez-Reed to be “inexperienced and overwhelmed” and that Baldwin overlooked this behaviour, despite being a producer on the film.

“The combination of Hannah Gutierrez’s negligence and inexperience and Alec Baldwin’s complete lack of concern for the safety of those around him would prove deadly for Halyna Hutchins,” the filing read.

Morrissey also wrote that Baldwin’s claims that he only pulled the hammer but not the trigger on the gun was “absurd”. The filing said Baldwin did not mention this when he was first interviewed by the police, but did so a month later when he went on ABC News and added that Hutchins had instructed him to point the gun at her.

Testimony by an independent gun expert during Gutierrez-Reed’s trial also cast doubt on Baldwin’s account that his gun went off without pulling the trigger.

“Every time Mr Baldwin spoke, a different version of events emerged from his mouth, and his later statements contradicted his previous statements,” the prosecutor wrote.

Baldwin’s attorneys said in their March filing that Hutchins’s death was a terrible tragedy but prosecutors are misguided in their attempts to secure a conviction against him. In asking for the indictment to be dismissed, they said prosecutors “publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their improprieties – without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two-and-a-half years”.

“This is an abuse of the system, and an abuse of an innocent person whose rights have been trampled to the extreme,” his lawyers said in the filing.

Morrissey’s filing also stated that Baldwin had engaged in “countless lies and manipulation” as well as subjected both her and co-counsel Jason Lewis to personal attacks.

The filing also revealed that Baldwin was offered a misdemeanor plea last year, which was rescinded when the prosecution learned that Baldwin was not only planning a documentary about Hutchins, but was “actively pressuring material witnesses in the case” to be interviewed for it.

The Independent has reached out to Baldwin for a comment.