Jury selection begins at Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial

Alec Baldwin manslaughter trial has started Credit: AP

Jury selection got off to a slow start Tuesday in a New Mexico courtroom at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Alec Baldwin in the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rush in 2021.

The judge and attorneys had expected to have a jury seated within a day, but questioning of prospective jurors didn’t begin until more than two hours later than expected because of technical problems.

When Judge Mary Marlowe Summer asked the pool of 70 prospective jurors if they were familiar with the case, all but two raised their hands to indicate they were.

Two others indicated they would not be able to be fair and impartial and were excused.

Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after he pointed a revolver at Hutchtins when it fired and killed her.

The star of 30 Rock and The Hunt for Red October arrived with his wife at the courthouse early on Tuesday with their youngest child, Ilaria Catalina Irena Baldwin.

Baldwin claims the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it at Hutchins, who was behind the camera.

Unaware it contained a live round, Baldwin said he pulled back the hammer, not the trigger, and it discharged.

The 66-year-old trial is expected to last nine days in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as the prosecution will argue that Baldwin used the gun in a way that he never should have.

The defence will argue it is not an actor's responsibility to ensure a gun is free of live rounds, a position strongly supported by Baldwin’s union, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

His lawyers will also challenge the gun evidence, arguing that serious damage done to the revolver during an FBI test destroyed the evidence, preventing the defence from examining it.

The film director Joel Souza, who was shot and wounded by the bullet from Baldwin's gun, is among the crew members who will testify during the trial, which will be filmed and open to the public.

Hutchins, who grew up on a remote Soviet military base, was 42 when she died.

Unscripted is ITV News' arts and entertainment podcast, brought to you by ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar. In each episode, Nina speaks to a leading name from the world of arts and entertainment.