Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Rust shooting

Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter over the on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Ms Hutchins was shot and killed during filming of the western movie Rust in New Mexico after a gun the actor was holding went off.

Baldwin made the plea as he waived his right to an arraignment after he was indicted by a grand jury on 19 January, according to court documents.

Baldwin was not present at the court.

Waiving the right to an arraignment means the defendant does not have to appear in court to enter their plea, a lawyer can do it for them.

The 30 Rock actor was allowed to remain free without posting bail under the arraignment waiver with the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe.

Baldwin was originally charged over the shooting in January 2023.

Those charges were dropped a few months later based on evidence the hammer of the revolver might have been modified, allowing it to fire without the trigger being pulled.

The new charges came after an independent forensic test concluding that Baldwin would have had to have pulled the
trigger of the revolver he was using in a rehearsal for it to fire the live round that struck Hutchins in the chest and killed her.

The finding was the same as a previous FBI test on the firearm.

Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger and said he was not responsible for the death of Hutchins.

The movie's director, Joel Souza, was struck and wounded in the shoulder by the same bullet that killed Hutchins during production of the film on a set outside Santa Fe.

Rust's chief weapons supervisor, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, with her trial scheduled for February.

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There have been claims that safety standards on set were lax, though Baldwin and other defendants have disputed it.

According to a police report, assistant director David Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin, told him it was "cold" - meaning it did not contain live ammunition or blank rounds.

Halls said he was unaware it was loaded and last year did a plea deal for a six-month suspended sentence, a $500 fine, 24 hours' community safety and a gun safety class.

Filming resumed last year in Montana - with Baldwin reprising his role as the main character - after an agreement with Hutchins' widower made him an executive producer.