Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to manslaughter< /p>Open in full screen mode

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin in 2021.

Agence France-Presse

Prosecuted for manslaughter, Alec Baldwin pleaded not guilty on Wednesday before American justice more two years after the fatal shooting that cost the life of the director of photography of the film Rust during filming.

The 65-year-old actor was due in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing, but his defense waived his right to appear and sent a document saying he pleaded not guilty.

The actor, who faces up to 18 months in prison, denies pulling the trigger and has always maintained that he was assured that his weapon was harmless.

The case dates back to October 2021. The filming of Rustturned into drama on a New Mexico ranch when Alec Baldwin pointed a gun supposed to contain only blank bullets but a very real projectile killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

This rare news item shocked Hollywood and provoked calls to ban firearms on sets.

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However, it also provoked suspicions of amateurism around this low-budget production: certain Hollywood actors thus recalled that the management of firearms on a film set was already the subject of rules

Rust star Alec Baldwin was also the film's producer. But he is only being pursued as an actor.

His defense is calling for a speedy trial to minimize the risks of suspicion and slander against him in this case marked by multiple twists and turns and numerous weaknesses on the prosecution's side.

The prosecution dropped the charges against the actor in April, citing new investigative elements. The Los Angeles Times explained this change of heart by revealing that the gun would have been modified before its delivery to the film crew, thus increasing the risk of an accidental shooting occurring.

However, prosecutors had warned that the investigation was continuing and that the actor was not yet exonerated. He was indicted again in mid-January after a new twist.

According to the magazine Variety, a new expertise of the weapon in question, carried out last summer, concluded that it could only have been triggered by pressing the trigger.

Broken during testing by the FBI during the initial investigation, this replica of a vintage pistol is at the center of all the questions: the whole question is whether it could have been triggered alone.

The actors' union SAG-AFTRA recently criticized the prosecution of Mr. Baldwin as based on an incorrect assessment of an actor's actual duties.

An actor's job is not to be an expert on weapons or firearms, the organization reminded in a statement. Firearms are provided for use on set under the direction of several expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate use of these firearms.

The film's gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case and her trial is scheduled to begin February 21. /p>

During the initial investigation, the police concluded that it was she who had slipped the live bullet into the gun used by Alec Baldwin instead of a blank bullet.

The investigation never determined how live ammunition could have ended up on the film set, where only blank bullets are allowed.

Last March, the film's first assistant director, Dave Halls, received a six-month suspended prison sentence after agreeing to plead guilty. He had handed the pistol at the heart of the drama to Mr. Baldwin, assuring him that the weapon was not dangerous.

The Filming for Rust has since resumed and been completed in Montana, with Halyna Hutchins' widower Matthew serving as producer.

At the end of 2022, he abandoned the civil proceedings he had initiated against Alec Baldwin following an agreement the amount of which was not disclosed. At the time, he attributed his wife's death to a terrible accident.

By admin

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