Alec Baldwin may believe it is “highly unlikely” he’ll face criminal charges out of the fatal shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, but the Santa Fe District Attorney hasn’t ruled out the option.
In a pretty direct response to the actor/producer’s numerous and highly emotional assertions last night on ABC to George Stephanopoulos, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said Friday that “certain individuals may be criminally culpable for his/her actions and/or inactions on the set of Rust.”
Noting that she plans to “exercise my prosecutorial discretion to its fullest, including filing charges that are supported by probable cause,” Carmack-Altwies also said today that her office is “exploring various legal theories at the time.”
As the D.A. has made clear repeatedly since the horror of the October 21 killing of the DoP and the injuring of director Joel Souza on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set of the low budget Western, everything revolves around the completion of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing probe of the tragedy.
“Everyone involved in the handling and use of firearms on the set had a duty to behave in a manner such that the safety of others was protected, and it appears that certain actions and inactions contributed to this outcome,” Carmack-Altwies poignantly exclaimed today, sending a not too subtle warning to Baldwin and other members of the crew of Rust who are speaking publicly, either directly or through their lawyers.
The remarks by Carmack-Altwies were not altogether unexpected as Deadline has heard from a number of New Mexico sources that Santa Fe law enforcement were very unhappy with Baldwin once again speaking to media.
“Interviewed immediately after the shooting and subsequently by the Sheriff’s Office, the Emmy winner has been asked to not comment on the shooting beyond condolences as the police’s investigation continues – requests Baldwin has acknowledged, but is clearly ignoring as he lays out his version of what went down that terrible day.
One source told us the department felt “betrayed after all the consideration given to Baldwin in the aftermath of the shooting.” Another law enforcement source said that “Baldwin is testing the department’s patience and becoming a distraction to the ongoing investigation.
“As the First Judicial District Attorney, I have not made a decision to charge or not charge any individuals involved in the shooting that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins and injury of Joel Souza,” Carmack-Altwies said today.
No end date has been given for the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office’s investigation, but it could be several more weeks before it is wrapped up, I hear.
Though four separate search warrants have been issued for Santa Fe detectives and there’s lots of finger pointing and theories about where the live round that killed Hutchins came from, no one has been arrested, let alone charged yet in the matter.
Having said that, with two lawsuits already filed and more expected, Baldwin, along with Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and First Assistant Director David Halls and others have all retained defense lawyers. The family of Hutchins has also hired an attorney, one who specializes in wrongful death suits.
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