Baldwin indicted in ‘Rust’ shooting

FILE - This aerial photo shows part of the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, N.M., Oct. 23, 2021. A grand jury indicted Alec Baldwin on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, on an involuntary manslaughter charge in a 2021 fatal shooting during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico, reviving a dormant case against the A-list actor.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
FILE - This aerial photo shows part of the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, N.M., Oct. 23, 2021. A grand jury indicted Alec Baldwin on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, on an involuntary manslaughter charge in a 2021 fatal shooting during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico, reviving a dormant case against the A-list actor. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. -- A grand jury indicted Alec Baldwin on Friday on an involuntary manslaughter charge in a fatal shooting in 2021 during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico, reviving a dormant case against the actor.

Special prosecutors brought the case before a grand jury in Santa Fe this week, months after receiving a new analysis of the gun that was used. They declined to answer questions after spending about a day and a half presenting their case to the grand jury.

Defense attorneys for Baldwin indicated that they'll fight the charge.

"We look forward to our day in court," Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, defense attorneys for Baldwin, said in an email.

While the proceeding is shrouded in secrecy, two of the witnesses seen at the courthouse included crew members -- one who was present when the fatal shot was fired and another who had walked off the set the day before because of safety concerns.

Baldwin, the lead actor and a co-producer on the Western movie "Rust," was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal on a movie set outside Santa Fe in October 2021 when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has said he pulled back the hammer but not the trigger, and the gun fired.

The charge has again put Baldwin in legal trouble and created the possibility of prison time for an actor who has been a TV and movie mainstay for nearly 40 years, with roles in the blockbuster "The Hunt for Red October," Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" and the sitcom "30 Rock."

The indictment provides prosecutors with two alternative standards for pursuing an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin in the death of Hutchins. One would be based on negligent use of a firearm and the other alleges felony misconduct "with the total disregard or indifference for the safety of others."

Judges recently agreed to put a hold on several civil lawsuits seeking compensation from Baldwin and the producers of "Rust" after prosecutors said they would present their case to a grand jury. Plaintiffs in those suits include members of the film crew.

Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the cinematographer's parents and younger sister in a civil case, said Friday that her clients have been seeking the truth about what happened the day Hutchins was killed and will be looking forward to Baldwin's trial.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and president of the West Coast Trial Lawyers firm in Los Angeles, pointed to previous missteps by prosecutors, saying they will need to do more than present ballistics evidence to make a case that Baldwin had a broader responsibility and legal duty when it came to handling the gun on the set.

Information for this article was contributed by Susan Montoya Bryan of The Associated Press.

  photo  FILE - In this image taken from video released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, Alec Baldwin speaks with investigators following a fatal shooting on a movie set in Santa Fe, N.M. A grand jury indicted Alec Baldwin on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, on an involuntary manslaughter charge in a 2021 fatal shooting during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico, reviving a dormant case against the A-list actor. (Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
 
 
  photo  FILE - Alec Baldwin attends the NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th anniversary Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, April 4, 2016, in New York. A grand jury indicted Alec Baldwin on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, on an involuntary manslaughter charge in a 2021 fatal shooting during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico, reviving a dormant case against the A-list actor. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)