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Prosecutor says Alec Baldwin ‘violated basic firearm safety rules’

A prosecutor told jurors that Alec Baldwin “violated basic firearm safety rules” in opening statements at his manslaughter trial.

“The evidence will show that the defendant, Alexander Baldwin, is someone who pretended to use a real gun and violated basic firearm safety rules,” said Special Prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson.

She stressed that the Rust film set, where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed, was a workplace.

“The evidence will show that, as in many workplaces, there are people who act recklessly and put others in danger,” Ms. Johnson said. “That, as you will hear, is the defendant.”

Meanwhile, the defence lawyer told the jury that Ms Hutchins’ death was an “unspeakable tragedy” but that “Alec Baldwin committed no crime; he was an actor and he acted”.

Baldwin’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, emphasized in his opening statement that the star did exactly what actors always do.

“I don’t need to tell you more about it because you’ve all seen shootings in the movies,” Mr. Spiro said.

The trial will explore firearm safety, fame and a low-budget Western filmed on a remote ranch.

The 16 jurors — 11 women and five men — come from a region with a strong tendency toward gun ownership and safety, driven by remote hunting areas.

Four of the jurors will be considered alternates, and the remaining twelve will deliberate once the case is received.

The death of cinematographer Hutchins, 42, a rising star in her field, occurred almost three years ago and sent shockwaves through the film industry. Baldwin has been charged with a felony that carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty. He entered the courtroom carrying a disposable coffee cup. His wife, Hilaria Baldwin, and brother, Stephen Baldwin, sat close in the audience, among the defendant’s relatives and friends.

He sat surrounded by his lawyers, wearing a dark blue suit, in the Santa Fe courthouse, not far from the film farm where scenes for Rust were filmed.

Baldwin claims the gun discharged accidentally because he followed instructions and aimed it at Hutchins, who was standing behind the camera.

He claims that, unaware that the gun was loaded with live ammunition, he pulled the hammer — not the trigger — and the gun fired.

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

Baldwin, star of Beetlejuice, Glengarry Glen Ross and 30 Rock, has been a well-known actor and public personality for more than three decades.

In court documents, defense attorneys emphasized that the gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had already been found responsible for the shooting, and testified that the gun was checked by an assistant director before being given to Baldwin — and that the shooting was confusing and shocking to the entire crew, who believed there were no live ammunition on the set.

Prosecutors have two alternative standards for proving the charge. One is negligent use of a firearm. The other is proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin acted with complete disregard or indifference for the safety of others.

Testimony at trial will focus on deficiencies in the gun’s last safety check before Baldwin began practicing with it, as well as the mechanics of the gun and whether it could have fired without the trigger being pulled.

The live bullet that killed Hutchins also wounded director Joel Souza.

Published: by Radio NewsHub