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Actor and producer Alec Baldwin in 2021.
Prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter, Alec Baldwin pleaded not guilty on Wednesday before the American courts more two years after the fatal shooting which cost the life of the director of photography of the film
Rust during filming.
The 65-year-old actor was expected in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing, but his defense waived his right to appear and sent a document indicating that he pleaded not guilty.
The actor, who risks up to' to 18 months in prison, denies pulling the trigger and has always maintained that he was assured his weapon was harmless.
The affair dates back to October 2021. The filming of
Rust turned into drama on a ranch in New Mexico when Alec Baldwin showed up a weapon supposed to contain only blank bullets but of which a very real projectile had killed the director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured the 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 a problem. subject to strict rules.
Rust , Alec Baldwin was also the film's producer. But he is only being prosecuted 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 side of the prosecution.
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 that' ;#x27;untimely shooting occurs.
However, prosecutors had warned that the investigation continued and that the actor was not yet exonerated. He was charged 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 had not been able to can only be triggered by pressing the trigger.
Broken during testing by the FBI during the initial investigation, this replica of a pistol x27;epoch is at the center of all 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.
The job of an actor is not to be an expert in weapons or firearms, the organization recalled in a press release. 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 manslaughter in the case and her trial is scheduled to begin February 21.
During the initial investigation, the police concluded that it was she who had slipped the live bullet into the weapon 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.
Rust has since resumed and been completed in Montana, with Halyna Hutchins' widower, Matthew, as as a producer.
At the end of 2022, he had abandoned the civil proceedings he had initiated against Alec Baldwin under an agreement the amount of which was not disclosed. At the time, he attributed his wife's death to a terrible accident.