Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to two charges of involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The 64-year-old actor was charged by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s (DA) office with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on the set of the film Rust in October 2021.
The first charge facing Baldwin – involuntary manslaughter – requires proof of underlying negligence.
The second charge – involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act – requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.
He was due in court on Friday, but entered the pleas on Thursday, waiving his right to a first appearance in court.
A preliminary hearing date is yet to be set, but will determine whether the case will go to trial.
Earlier this week, a firearm enhancement to the charge was dropped by the DA, meaning the potential maximum sentence Baldwin faces was reduced from five years to 18 months.
His lawyers argued that the enhancement was “unlawful” as it had been enacted seven months after the incident, and that the government should have taken “careful consideration” due to the charge carrying the “greatest legal penalty”.
In a statement following the withdrawal notice, his lawyers said: “Instead, a spokesperson for the government immediately issues an extraordinary statement to the media characterising the motion as an ‘attempt to distract’ from the case by Mr Baldwin’s ‘fancy attorneys’.”
Alec Baldwin’s charges reduced over Rust shooting
Alec Baldwin tries to have involuntary manslaughter charge thrown out
Alec Baldwin’s charges reduced
The actor also faces a separate civil lawsuit filed by the family of Ms Hutchins on 9 February.
They are suing both Baldwin and the Rust movie production company for alleged battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and loss of consortium – a claim to compensate for damage to relationships that are mutually dependent.
Producers have announced that filming on the western film will resume in the spring, more than a year on from the fatal shooting.
A documentary about Ms Hutchins’ life and final work, which will include the completion of the movie, is also in the works alongside the production, supported by her husband.