Testimony begins in Alec Baldwin on-set shooting trial | WORLD
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Testimony begins in Alec Baldwin on-set shooting trial

Actor Alec Baldwin stands during a break in his hearing in Santa Fe County District Court, Wednesday, July 10, 2024, in Santa Fe, N.M. The Associated Press/Photo by Ross D. Franklin, Pool

Testimony begins in Alec Baldwin on-set shooting trial

Both sides delivered opening statements on Wednesday, one day after the court seated a jury of 11 women and five men. The 66-year-old actor pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in the death of filmmaker Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin’s prop Colt .45 revolver went off on the set of the western film “Rust,” and killed Hutchins in October 2021. The actor confirmed that the gun was in his hand when it fired, and that he pulled the hammer back, but maintained that he did not pull the trigger.

What arguments did the prosecution make? Forensic testing and production footage will show that Balwin played make-believe with a real gun and violated basic gun safety rules, special prosecutor Erlinda Ocampo Johnson told the court. She reminded the jury that despite being used on a movie set, the gun was real and alleged that Baldwin regularly mishandled the weapon on set. He pointed the gun at another human, cocked the hammer, and pulled the trigger with no regard for Hutchins’ safety, Johnson said.

What did Baldwin's attorney have to say? Hutchins’ death was an unspeakable tragedy, but Baldwin committed no crime, defense attorney Alex Spiro told jurors. The actor was told his gun was cold, an industry term for a gun with no form of ammunition inside, Spiro said. The defense shifted focus to the already convicted armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who Spiro alleged had neglected to perform the proper safety checks on set. He added that no one witnessed Baldwin intentionally pull the trigger, somewhat qualifying Baldwin’s repeated claim that he never pulled the trigger at all. Moreover, actors are allowed to pull the trigger of a gun on set when they are told it is cold, Spiro added.

Testimony began on Wednesday. Attorneys have not confirmed if Baldwin will take the stand. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer will preside over proceedings, which are scheduled to continue through July 19 in New Mexico’s First District Court.

Dig deeper: Read Juliana Chan Erikson’s report on Baldwin’s work in Dreamworks’ Boss Baby.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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