How did we get to the Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ trial?

How did we get to the Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ trial?

A beautiful fall day, tucked away off New Mexico's back roads, the world had no idea what was going on.

SANTA FE, N.M. — On a beautiful fall day, tucked away off New Mexico’s back roads, the world had no idea what was going on.

On Oct. 21, 2021, the unthinkable happened on a Santa Fe County movie ranch. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed while filming a scene for the Western film, “Rust.” Director Joel Souza was shot and wounded.

“We need an ambulance out at Bonanza Creek Ranch right now. We’ve got two people shot on a movie set accidentally.”

The gun they filmed with was believed to be a prop gun with blanks. The man who held that gun was Alec Baldwin. Baldwin was one of the executive producers of “Rust.”

In interviews the evening of the shooting, the scene came into focus for Santa Fe County deputies. Somehow, a live bullet was in the gun.

The next year saw civil lawsuits involving Baldwin, the Hutchins family and crew members, but not a lot of answers. At one point, Albuquerque prop company PDQ Arm and Prop was involved. Investigators served a search warrant to see if the company provided live rounds to armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

Then, in January 2023, prosecutors announced charges. They charged Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed with involuntary manslaughter. They also charged assistant director David Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin, with negligence with a deadly weapon. Halls pleaded no contest.

Months later, prosecutors dropped charges against Baldwin, claiming they needed to investigate new evidence. New special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis stepped up and filed new charges against Baldwin, including involuntary manslaughter.

Gutierrez-Reed went on trial in February 2024 on that charge. Her lawyers said producers, including Baldwin, also made mistakes. They say that led to an entire camera crew walking off-set a day before the shooting.

The jury took just two hours to convict Gutierrez-Reed of involuntary manslaughter. A judge didn’t hold back while sentencing her to 18 months in prison, either.

“But for you, Ms. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner, and a little boy would have his mother. Please take her,” Judge Mary Marlowe-Sommer said.

Now, Baldwin prepares to go on trial, facing an involuntary manslaughter charge. His attorneys have tried to get the case dismissed. It was even last week when a judge denied his latest request.

Baldwin showed up in a Santa Fe courtroom Monday, listening in on several motion hearings as he gets ready to face trial for the deadly shooting. Jury selection is likely to begin Tuesday.