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District attorney explains decision to charge Alec Baldwin over ‘Rust’ shooting

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Prosecutors in New Mexico have just announced that actor Alec Baldwin and the armorer on the film Rust will both be charged with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the fatal movie set shooting back in October of 2021. The film's cinematographer, Helena Hutchins, was killed. The film's director was injured. Josh Campbell is back with us from Santa Fe. He's with Santa Fe's district at And this is her first TV intervi since the charging decision. Josh Yeah, thanks. I'm here with the district attor Amanda Shirley. Thank you for speaking with us. I just want to start. How did you come to this prosecutor decision? Well, along with my special pros we got the report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office. We initiated an extensive review And I will say that it was a it was a well investigated case, we had some follow up that we ha had to speak with some experts.

And once we read through everyth and researched the case law and the law here in New Mexico, we realized that we believe that there was probable cause to Alec Baldwin and hand of Gutierrez Reid with involuntary manslaught And what were some of the key pieces of evidence that you used that factored into that decision Well, there was such a lack of s and safety standards on that set that there were live rounds on s They were mixed in with regular dummy rounds. Nobody was checking those, or at they weren't checking them consi And then they somehow got loaded into a gun handed off to Alec Baldwin. He didn't check it. He didn't do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was sa And then he pointed the gun at Helena Hutchins and he pulled the trigger. You talk about the safety on the Was as part of your investigatio was there one thing that was don or one thing that was said that sealed it for that this should be prosecuted? No, actually, I think it was the totality of the circumstance that this was a really fast and and that that nobody was doing t There were three people that if they had done their job this tragedy wouldn't have happe And that's David Hall's Hannah Gutierrez, Reid and Alec If they had just done their basi duties, this, we wouldn't be standing here.

Can you help our viewers underst this state? State officials did It was signed by the chief medical investigator saying that there was no compelling evidence that this was intentional. Right So help our viewers understand if it's an accident, which most people seem to think Why is that a crime? Because just because it's an acc doesn't mean that it's not crimi Our involuntary manslaughter statute covers unintentional killings, unintentional homicides, the the rest of our homicide statutes cover intentio but unintentional means they didn't mean to do it.

They didn't have the intent to k But it happened anyway. And it happened because of more than mere neglig because of they they didn't exercise due caution or circumspection. And that's what happened here. And what's your response to you know, there
might be people in Baldwin's cam who say that you were overchargi Well, we disagree. And we're going to be taking that in front of a judge and allowing the judge to decide on probable cause.

But we think that there is enoug more than enough there to move forward on these charges and possibly to get through the preliminary hearing stage and on to trial. And can you just break down the specific charges so I was reading through your announcement. You say that both Hannah Gutierrez, Reid and Alec Baldwin have been charged with two count of involuntary manslaughter. Can you unpack that? What does that mean? Well,
and those are two counts in the alternative. So when this goes in front of a the jury could find their guilty But since they're in the alterna they will only be sentenced as to one count The first part of the involuntar that will be charging is that they acted with without caution and circumspection, mean they weren't just negligent in their duties, but that they were on notice that they had duties and that they should have done or not done something that didn't happen on that set, meaning they should have checked the bul they should have checked the gun They shouldn't have even been using a life gun that day.

They should have been using a ru or a plastic gun. All of these things go together and show that there was just this complac lack of care on that set, and it's more than negligence. And I would say it rises to reck The other is goes hand in hand with a misdeme a petty misdemeanor here in New called negligent use of a deadly And that is that someone handled or used or touched a gun in a negligent manner. And if we once we show that, then that can lead to the second alternative theory of involuntary manslaughter does it matter for an actor? Obviously, there's been this dis about safety on Saturday, the last time I interviewed you, you even mentioned like you were surprised to learn you know, these sets operate lik and some some circumstances. But if you have an actor with wh she thinks is a prop gun, not a Is that actual negligence? If it turns out that that gun can actually shoot? It's more than that.

Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they are going to handle pointed at someone and pull the that it is not going to fire a p and kill someone. And this is really about justice for Lena Hutchins. We've talked to many actors A-list and otherwise that have s they always check their guns or they have someone check it in front of them. So it's not an actor doesn't get a free pass just because they're an actor. And that's what's so important is that we're saying here in New everyone is equal under the law. Everyone has to follow their dut and do what's right.

And take that safety into accoun so that this doesn't ever happen And is Baldwin being charged as who is holding the gun or as a producer on the set who was negligent about the safety standards? Can you help describe that? He's being charged as both. He was the actor that pulled the So certainly he's he's charged as an actor, but also as a producer. He also had a duty to make sure that the safe the set was safe. And we know from our investigati that there had been accidental misfires prior to this, that there were people that were complaining about safety on set. And so he should have been aware that safety was an issue on set.

And then as an actor that day, he should have checked that gun checked those projectiles. You just got more questions than your time assured. Do you expect any type of plea a from Baldwin or Gutierrez, Reid? Have those discussions started? That's not something I can comme at this time. It's unethical for a prosecutor to talk about plea negotiations or potential plea deals. Were they given a heads up that this was coming? Yes, they were. They were. How did those discussions feel? We have been in, I would
say, almost constant communicati with with the opposing parties, for about the last six weeks. They didn't know exactly what wa but they were aware that we were contemplating charges and they were aware of what the contemplated charges were.

And just two more questions. So what happens next? So once these trials and charges are filed as soon as tomorrow, r Is that the plan? It'll be before the end of this Before the end of this month. So then what happens? Are these defendants then required to come back to Ne or will they be placed under arr How does that work? No, we will not be asking for an In typical cases in this county, the way that we handle it as we'll send out what's called a summons. From that, the court will set what's called a first appearance or it's basically an arraignment And at that point, they will either have to come here or they might do a video arraign We have been doing, though, sinc and they will get their conditio of release and enter not guilty And finally, last time you and I spoke, which was right after this tragic incident occur you told me that, you know, that there was pressure out there, people either wanting to charge or not wanting you to charge.

One thing you said was, you know, there's pressure. You do not feel that pressure and you will follow the facts and the prosecution decision will be made on the facts. That was at the beginning of the Do you still feel the same now, looking backwards You know, this obviously got international attention. Can you just talk about that? What was it like trying to conduct this investiga and was it done in this consistent manner throughout? Oh, absolutely.

Of course, I knew there was pres Of course, I knew that people had feelings or another. But that happens in every single And what's important to me as a prosecutor is treating ever equally under the law and getting justice for the vict And so that pressure did not affect me in any way whatsoever. This was a decision based on the facts and the evide And I just thank you for your ti Thank you. Appreciate it. Okay. We'll throw it back to you Obviously, a major decision here that we've been waiting for in t Now, actor Alec Baldwin as well as the armo charged with involvement, involuntary manslaughter. Josh, while you have the day, I know she's short on time. She said something in there that to see if you could ask a really She said that Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger. Baldwin told ABC he was adamant he did not pull the trigger. She is confident Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger. Yeah.
So my colleague Kate is asking. So Baldwin has said that he didn't pull the trigger. Obviously, we know the FBI report says that that gun could not have gone off without pulling the trigger.

Are you confident that he actual the trigger? Yes, absolutely. The FBI lab is one of the best in the world. And we absolutely believe that the trigger had to have bee in order for that gun to go off the trigger was pulled. So that your assessment is based on that
FBI analysis at Quantico, looking at the gun itself and how it operated. That's right. And that's one of the reasons that this investigation did take a long time We were waiting on that, trying to make sure we had all of the evidence and and were able to gather absolutely everything. And we were sure of these charge before we filed them. All right. Thank you, ma'am. Kate, back to you. Josh, does she know how that liv round got on? That's up Yeah. One question which we've had is do you know how the live round actually got on the set? We don't.

And we might not ever know the answer to that question. And I do believe that's a bit of a red herring. The point is, live rounds were t and they weren't checked. They should have been caught. Three people should have been should have been checking those projectiles and should have caught them. But that wasn't a major decision And you're in your determination to actually charge here, correct And do you think that I mean, you know,
obviously you look at the facts of this ca you know,
you mentioned before how surprised you were to see the lack of safety on the set.

Are you also trying to maybe send a message to other people out there making movies that, look, there will be conseq Is that part of your decision? Absolutely. Absolutely. In New Mexico, we want you to co We want you to film movies, but we want you to do it safely. And we certainly want to get jus for anyone that is that is a vic Like in this case. We want to get justice for Helen Hutchins. Right. Yeah. And that is key. Obviously, we've been hearing, Kate, that there was a victim in this case, which we have to r Cinematographer Helena Hutchens, although this appears to be an a she lost her life in the sense that it came Absolutely. Josh, thank you very much for the great interview. And think please thank the district attorney for because I know she doesn't have So thank you both very, very muc Joining me now because there's a lot to go thro now, this now hearing from the district attorney herself. Back with me, Elliot Williams, Chloe Mills and Dutch Merrick El What's your reaction to what you just heard from the D.A.

Okay, so I heard three big things there, Kate. Number one, the notion that accidents can be criminal. Look, accidents happen all the t People get injured all the time without any civil or criminal liability. But sometimes some accidents are in the law as so egregious that somebody ought to be charge with the crime and go to jail. And she made that point and was very explicit about it.

So, one, accidents being criminal to another thing she said she so talked a lot about. It was things were fast and loose on th and they failed to carry out the what the terms used were basic duties to secure the and ensure that dangerous weapon or anything that might hurt somebody was secured And she made that point. This gets back to the point we were talking about earlier on negligence, where people have a duty to ensu that they are behaving in a mann as other reasonable people would or should behave in the same circumstance.

And finally, and this is a big one, she noted that people complained on the set and there were reports that a number of staff on the set had left shortly before this shooting. And one of the things that they'd complained about were the conditions for safety for crew and actors on set. That's a point that certainly pl into criminal charges, given that the actors and or producers and she noted that Alec Baldwin is both were on notice that there might have been hazar so a number of things that, you know, she's she's speaking and prosecutors speak. But really bolstering all of her for how she got to manslaughter killing someone in an accidental Very interesting, Chloe. You've statements in now from Alec Baldwin. What is he sa Kate, so I have a statement from Alec Baldwin's at that they just said to me. This is how it reads, quote, This decision distorts Alaina Hutchins tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justic Mr.
Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the g or anywhere on the movie set.

He relied on the professionals w he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds We will fight these charges and we will win. Kate, I've told you that when I with Alec Baldwin over the summer, he was adamant that he did not pull the trigger I just pulled some of what he to over the summer while we when we sat down, he said, I pulled the hammer all the way without locking it and the gun w I've never played with a gun. I never took a gun and pointed i at somebody and click the thing. I never pulled the trigger on a gun aimed at someone in my And you could probably find countless people that would testify to that fact.

So, I mean, just based on the st that we just got moments ago from Alec Baldwin's attorney, we know that he is going to figh We know that he will not take a plea deal, that he will see this through to a jury trial. And we are still waiting to hear from Baldwin himself Kate. All right, Chloe, thanks for bringing us that. Dutch, I want your reaction to everythi that we heard, the description that the D.A. just laid out of the kind of how it was played, kind of fast and I think she said the complacency is a word that she used on the set. What's the impact? Now that we have these charges c what is the impact, do you think going to be on the industry? Well, complacency on that set is When you look at the photographs of how the prop truck was handled, it was look like the truck had been tipped over. Nothing was organized the way the carts were just stre And that low budget show, they had cut a lot of corners and didn't have a lot of time and didn't didn't hold themselves to the standards that most of Hollywood does.

I think the changes that should come about is especially the first ad insinuating itself into the situation, handling a g No first aid I've ever heard of has done that That's a royal royal. No. And when it said that, when the prosecutor said that Ba should have checked the gun, that is not the actor's responsi The actor puts a great deal of t in us, the armors and the prop department, to make sure that while we make sure we make it look as real as humanly possible we also make it as safe as possi And he was assured by a crew per the first lady in this instance that that gun was, quote, cold or didn't have any blanks in it or wasn't dangerous, and he acted accordingly.

So he may have liability, but he put his trust in our crew and that crew person, the armor and the aide failed him terribly..

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