Alec Baldwin 'violated' firearm safety and wanted 'the biggest gun available', jury hears

The trial of actor Alec Baldwin began today, as ITV News Entertainment reporter Rishi Davda reports

Alec Baldwin "violated" rules of firearm safety on the Rust film set in 2021, prosecutors told the jury in opening statements.

The actor arrived at his trial for the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Wednesday morning.

Baldwin has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after he pointed a revolver at 42-year-old Hutchins when it fired and killed her. He could face up to 18 months in prison.

He has pleaded not guilty and claimed 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.

In her opening statements, prosecutor Erlinda Johnson accused Baldwin of playing “make-believe with a real gun”.

"The evidence will show that like in many workplaces, there are people who act in a reckless manner and place other people in danger. That, you will hear, is the defendant,” she added.

Johnson added that the company who distributed the gun for film use said it went through quality control tests and that before arriving on set, he requested to be assigned "the biggest gun available".

"He pointed the gun at another human being, cocked the hammer and pulled that trigger, in reckless disregard for Ms. Hutchins’ safety,” Johnson said.

“The only true and just verdict in this case, so that true justice can be served, is a verdict of guilty to involuntary manslaughter."

On the hand, Baldwin's defence lawyer Alex Spiro said in his opening statement that the 66-year-old "committed no crime".

"This was an unspeakable tragedy, but Alec Baldwin committed no crime. He was an actor, acting. Playing the role of Harland Rust," Spiro said.

"An actor playing a character can act in ways that are lethal, that just aren’t lethal on a movie set.

"And I don’t have to tell you much more about this because you’ve all seen gunfights in movies and the reason that can happen is because safety is ensured before the actor."

Spiro added that those responsible for ensuring safety on set failed in their duties and said before Baldwin took the gun for rehearsal, it was deemed a “cold gun,” meaning it had been checked and was safe.

He said: "Cold guns can’t hurt people. It’s impossible. Literally impossible for a cold gun to hurt somebody.

"You don’t need to worry even about eye gear or ear plugs for that fake bang."

The defence also played script supervisor Mamie Mitchell 911 call about the shooting, she can be heard speaking to someone in the background saying"F****** AD. It was his responsibility," with no mention of Baldwin. The AD, meaning assistant director of the film, Dave Halls, is expected to testify on the witness stand during the trial.

In a criminal case related to the on-set shooting in March, Halls pleaded no contest to negligent use of a deadly weapon, the terms of that deal included six months of probation and a suspended sentence, prosecutors said.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armourer for the film was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The film director Joel Souza, who was also shot and wounded by the bullet from Baldwin's gun, is among other crew members who will also testify.

The trial is expected to last for nine days.

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