Jury Selected For Alec Baldwin’s Involuntary Manslaughter ‘Rust’ Trial; Opening Statements Set For Wednesday Morning

A jury of 12 New Mexico citizens has been chosen in Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial for the tragic shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021.

The selection of the dozen jurors and four alternates (11 women and five men) today now means that opening statements by prosecutors and the 30 Rock vet’s s Quinn Emanuel attorneys will begin Wednesday in Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer’s Santa Fe County courtroom. The trial is expected to go until July 19 before the jurors retire to deliberate on a verdict.

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Hutchins was killed and Rust director Joel Souza was injured on October 21, 2021 after the Colt .45 Baldwin was pointing at the cinematographer shot off a live round during a rehearsal at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. Though Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was sentenced to 18 months in a state prison on April 15,  after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on March 6, no full explanation has been given yet for how a live round got on the set of the indie Western.

Recharged with involuntary manslaughter in January, exactly a year after he was charged the first time, Baldwin entered a not guilty plea in the weeks afterwards. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, Baldwin is also up against several civil cases in California and New Mexico courts related to Rust and the terrible shooting on the movie’s set.

Facing up to 18 months behind bars himself and hefty fines if found guilty, Baldwin was in the courtroom today as the lawyers whittled down the pool of nearly 80 potential jurors. Scoring some major wins against the state’s case, the Emmy winning actor was also in court on Monday for a pre-trial motions hearing.

With attitudes on guns, Hollywood and Baldwin himself in the fore, special prosecutor Kari Morrissey and defense attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro tried Tuesday to select jurors that came without too many preconceptions. To that, after a slight delay due to malfunctioning air conditioning in the sweltering courthouse, Judge Sommer started out the day by asking the question that said it all: “How many of you have not seen or heard anything about this case from any source whatsoever?”

Very few, it turned out.

Rust the movie was resurrected early last year and completed filming in Montana with Baldwin and Souza returning as star/producer and director respectively. Finished for months and having been shopped around at the likes of the Cannes film market in mid-2023, the movie has not been picked up by any buyers so far. A new push for the film is being held off until Baldwin’s trial is over, I hear.

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