Alec Baldwin has formally pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the 2021 deadly shooting of cinematographer Haylna Hutchins on the Rust set, in a move that is utterly predictable.

The actor, a numerous Emmy winner, entered a plea one day before the case’s first hearing after being charged with involuntary manslaughter in the criminal case. Baldwin has forfeited his right to that hearing with the entry of his plea, and New Mexico Judge Mary Marlow Sommer has canceled the February 24 meeting.

Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were formally charged by D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on January 31 over the death of Hutchins at Bonanza Creek Ranch on October 21, 2021, following a thorough and FBI-assisted investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office that was made public late last year. In that shooting, Joel Souza, the producer of Rust, was hurt.

Baldwin could now spend up to 18 months in prison and pay some fines if convicted in the forthcoming trial, unless a plea agreement is reached beforehand.

In documents filed in court in the Land of Enchantment on Thursday, Baldwin’s lead attorney Luke Nikas stated: “I hereby certify that I have explained to Mr. Baldwin his right to personally appear before the District Cou11 to enter a plea of Not Guilty and to have his rights explained to him by the judge and I am satisfied that Mr. Baldwin understands the waiver of these rights” (read it here).

Related: His Daughter Was Killed On The Midnight Rider Set. He Hopes The Alec Baldwin Charges Will Spur Change In Film

Baldwin is not allowed to possess a firearm, consume alcohol, or communicate with potential or likely witnesses in the criminal case unless it is “in connection with the Rust movie and other related and unrelated business issues,” according to the conditions set by Judge Sommer today (read it here.)

Baldwin was scheduled to practically attend the now-cancelled hearing tomorrow. The accused must hold a preliminary hearing within two months of their plea. The Rust actor and producer is anticipated to appear in person at that upcoming hearing where he will be accused by the D.A. of “criminal negligence” for firing the prop gun from the 1880s that killed Hutchins.

According to Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles, she will still virtually present for herself at the hearing on February 24. Reed has not yet admitted guilt and is not obligated to do so on the next day.

Related: Despite Facing Charges, Alec Baldwin Will Continue To Work On The Film “Rust,” According To A Source

Five years in state prison could have been imposed on the second count when Baldwin and Reed were first officially charged; however, First Judicial D.A. Carmack-Altwies “removed” that possibility on February 20. Baldwin and Reed’s attorneys successfully objected to the “enhancement” charge as “unconstitutional” because it had become a state legislation in mid-2022, months after the tragic shooting on the indie Western set, in what can only be described as a major victory for the defense.

The first allegation is a fourth-degree felony under New Mexico law, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The second charge, which carries a fourth-degree felony sentence of up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000, is involuntary manslaughter committed while carrying out a legal deed. The second charge, however, also included a firearm enhancement, making a conviction result in a mandatory sentence of five years in state jail. The D.A. intended to let the jury determine during deliberations which charge they wanted to pursue, as permitted by New Mexico law.

Producers claim that a revived Rust with Baldwin in the lead will begin filming in Montana this spring, but the actor and his NYC-based legal team are still fighting to have special prosecutor Andrea Reeb dismissed from the case because of her dual employment as an elected GOP lawmaker from New Mexico.

Widower Matthew Hutchins is still scheduled to be an EP on the returning Rust and to create a documentary about his former wife, despite reaching a settlement with the show’s producers in his wrongful death lawsuit last October. But Matthew Hutchins is also listed as a witness for the state in the case, in addition to criticizing Baldwin and his crew when the D.A. announced charges.


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