Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter

The actor was due to appear in US court for the first time on Friday.

Mike Bedigan
Thursday 23 February 2023 20:59 GMT
The actor was due to appear in US court for the first time on Friday. (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)
The actor was due to appear in US court for the first time on Friday. (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA) (PA Media)

Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to two charges of involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The Hollywood actor was due in court on Friday for a first appearance hearing, which would have seen details of the charges and his rights read out by a judge.

But Baldwin entered the pleas on Thursday, waiving his right to a first appearance in court.

The actor will next face a preliminary hearing at a date yet to be set, which will determine whether or not the case will go to trial.

Baldwin was charged by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office last month, over the fatal shooting of Ms Hutchins in October 2021.

The first of the two charges brought against him can be referred to as involuntary manslaughter and requires proof of underlying negligence.

The second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.

The DA recently dropped a firearm enhancement to the charge, which would have made the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.

Baldwin’s lawyers had argued that the enhancement was “unlawful” and accused the DA of “extraordinary” media briefings against him.

The actor’s legal team said that after the “legally erroneous” enhancement had been rescinded, their own previous motion to have the charge dropped was now “moot”.

In a withdrawal notice filed earlier this week, they said that since the firearm enhancement had carried “the greatest legal penalty” it should have demanded “careful consideration by the government”.

“Instead, a spokesperson for the government immediately issued an extraordinary statement to the media characterising the motion as an ‘attempt to distract’ from the case by Mr Baldwin’s ‘fancy attorneys’,” the notice stated.

Baldwin also faces a separate civil lawsuit, filed on February 9 by the family of Ms Hutchins.

The family are suing Baldwin and the Rust movie production company for alleged battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and loss of consortium.

Loss of consortium is a claim which seeks to recover compensation for damage to certain relationships that are mutually dependent.

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