Do investigations into the killing of a photographer shot by Baldwin lead to prosecutions?

Do investigations into the killing of a photographer shot by Baldwin lead to prosecutions?
Do investigations into the killing of a photographer shot by Baldwin lead to prosecutions?

The circumstances of the killing of a director of photography, shot by accidentally by actor Alec Baldwin, while rehearsing one of the scenes of the movie “Rust”, are gradually revealed, but the question remains: Will the investigations lead to prosecutions in the murder of Halina Hutchins, and who will it reach in this case?

The authorities have not arrested anyone so far in this case, but the judiciary has not yet ruled out possible criminal proceedings against those involved in the tragedy that occurred on October 21 at the filming of “Rust”, a low-budget Western movie, in New York. Mexico (southwest).

Legal experts polled by AFP believe that the attorney general’s office in Santa Fe (the capital of the state of New Mexico) could theoretically follow two paths to indict Alec Baldwin: the first as an actor who fired the trigger during a scene rehearsal, and the second as a producer of the film.

Although many question marks remain about the circumstances that led to the accident, these experts ruled out Alec Baldwin’s exposure to criminal prosecution.

The actor obtained the weapon used in the incident from the hands of assistant director Dave Holz, who told him, according to many witnesses, that the weapon was “cold”, which in cinematic terms means that it is unloaded and therefore there is no danger of using it.

“He appears to have reasoned that the gun was not loaded,” said University of Southern California law professor Gregory Keating.

The manslaughter charge requires evidence that the actor acted recklessly.

But “Alec Baldwin doesn’t seem to have much responsibility… the further away you are from the person in charge of the gun, the less likely that is,” criminal attorney Richard Kaplan of Kaplan Marino’s Los Angeles office told AFP.

But does Baldwin have more responsibility as a co-producer of the film? The actor is one of the executive producers of the work, whose production team consists of 12 people.

In Hollywood, the term “executive producer” is not precisely defined as it can apply to a major financier of a business, as it may sometimes be called to someone who helped find funding at the beginning of the project.

It is not yet clear who is responsible for making the decisions on the set of “Rust”. Also little is known about Alec Baldwin’s role in the production, and the production company did not respond to AFP’s multiple attempts to obtain clarification.

“My personal feeling is that (Baldwin) is a minor component” in the decision chain, Kaplan said.

“When you’re a star and you’re identified as a producer, it doesn’t mean that you have big responsibilities… It’s really about economic issues,” he added.

Keating also considered Alec Baldwin to be a “passive investor rather than a producer”.

– “Neglecting”?

In addition to the criminal proceedings that the investigation could lead to, experts say it is highly likely that the family of Halina Hutchins, along with director Joel Souza, who has suffered a shoulder injury, will initiate civil proceedings for compensation.

And legal counsel Brian Sullivan said in an interview with AFP that these complaints will target the production company, Alec Baldwin and other producers individually and “anyone who touched the pistol directly or indirectly.”

He also expected that “everyone will be prosecuted” under civil lawsuits.

According to the expert, Alec Baldwin will be targeted mainly because of his wealth and fame.

“I doubt the associate director would have a great fortune, so the prosecution would certainly want to take Alec Baldwin for the money,” Sullivan said.

Complaints may also extend to other people connected to the incident, including Dave Holz and Hanna Gutierrez-Reed, who is responsible for guns on the set.

On film sets, these weapons experts are responsible for the weapons used in the shooting scenes, and they must constantly ensure that they do not pose a threat to the team. Also, firearms must remain closed when not in use.

However, the specialized website “The Wrap” quoted sources familiar with the filming environment that some members of the team used the pistol in question to fire live ammunition at drink cans only hours before the accident.

In addition to people who dealt directly with the weapon, the producers could also be accused of “negligence” if they did not take all necessary measures to ensure safety during the shooting scene, according to Keating.

Several US media reported that members of the “Rust” team had complained of lapses in safety measures and that the weapon had been used at least twice before Hutchins was killed.

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