Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to manslaughter charges

The US actor faces charges of involuntary manslaughter after fatally shooting a cinematographer on a film set in 2021.

An image of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on an easel at a memorial
A photo of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of the film Rust, is displayed during a vigil in October 2021 [File: Kevin Mohatt/Reuters]

United States actor Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of a Western movie, according to court documents filed on Thursday. He also waived his first formal court appearance.

Baldwin and a weapons supervisor were charged last month with felony involuntary manslaughter in the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in October 2021.

Baldwin agreed to forgo a hearing to have his rights explained to him. A judge on Thursday set conditions of release that allow Baldwin to have limited contact with potential witnesses in connection with plans to complete filming of the movie Rust.

Prosecutors and defence attorneys are preparing for a likely preliminary hearing within a few months to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed to trial.

Other provisions of Baldwin’s pretrial release include a prohibition on consuming alcohol and against any possession of weapons, including firearms.

“Defendant is permitted to have contact with potential witnesses only … in connection with completing the Rust movie and other related and unrelated business matters,” state District Judge Mary Marlowe said in a signed order.

The order underscored, however, that Baldwin “is not permitted to discuss the accident at issue” with those potential witnesses.

The involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin, a lead actor and co-producer on Rust, and armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law.

Authorities said Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Source: The Associated Press