Monday, 29 May, 2023

US judge accepts 'Rust' film safety coordinator's plea deal

US judge accepts 'Rust' film safety coordinator's plea deal

Popular News

A New Mexico judge on Friday accepted the plea deal struck between prosecutors and the safety coordinator of the film starring Alec Baldwin whose cinematographer was shot and killed on set.

Dave Halls, assistant director of the low budget Western "Rust," handed Baldwin the loaded gun which ultimately discharged, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the film's director, Joel Souza.

Halls, 63, had told Baldwin the gun was "cold" -- industry speak for safe.

Under the plea agreement, Halls will serve no jail time, but must complete six months of unsupervised probation for the "unsafe handling of a deadly weapon."

According to court filings, the film's armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed loaded the gun and handed it to Halls, who then checked the firearm to ensure that the bullets were "dummy" rounds -- meaning they held no gunpowder.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey, during the hearing, described Halls as the "last line of defense" on the set, saying he failed to "check every round that was in the gun to confirm that it was a dummy round."

Both Baldwin -- a co-producer and the lead actor -- and Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for the weapon on set, face two alternative counts of voluntary manslaughter.

If found guilty, they face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Baldwin, 64, has repeatedly said he was told by the crew that the gun was not loaded.

In accepting the deal on Friday, Halls agreed to testify in any future proceedings related to the matter.

The accident sent shockwaves through Hollywood and led to calls for a total ban of real guns on set.

Industry experts have said there are already stringent safety rules in place, but that they were ignored.