Testimony begins in Alec Baldwin’s trial over ‘Rust’ movie shooting

It’s literally impossible for a cold gun to hurt somebody, defense says Pulling gun’s trigger wouldn’t make Baldwin guilty of homicide, defense attorney tells jurors

Santa Fe, United States   -   Alec Baldwin’s long-awaited trial for involuntary manslaughter over a fatal shooting on the set of Western movie “Rust” begins hearing opening statements at a New Mexico courthouse on Wednesday. The Hollywood A-lister was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a fateful rehearsal in October 2021 when it fired a live round, killing her and wounding the movie’s director. Baldwin, 66, says he did not know the gun was loaded and did not pull the trigger. After the court’s break, prosecutors and the defense attorneys conferred with the judge regarding the parameters of certain video evidence that will be played during testimony today. It is unclear what stipulations the judge placed on the playing of video during the private consultation, but after the conference, a visibly perturbed special prosecutor Kari Morrissey quickly walked over to Alec Baldwin’s defense table and admonished his lawyers. “You need to tell me the moment (the video) needs to start and the moment it needs to stop. I’m not just jumping around to random seconds,” Morrissey said. Pre-trial hearings in the case have been marked by frequent clashes between attorneys from each side, with the judge in the case frequently interrupting disputes and at one point calling out the tone between opposing parties. The prosecution called its first witness in the criminal trial against Alec Baldwin. Nicholas Lefleur is a current officer at the Santa Fe Police Department in New Mexico, he said on the stand, adding that he has been working there for two years. Previously, he worked at the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department. He said he received a dispatch call of someone being shot on a movie set in 2021. He arrived at the scene of the shooting first. “Even if he intentionally pulled the trigger like the prosecutor just demonstrated, that doesn’t make him guilty of homicide,” Alec Baldwin’s attorney Alex Spiro said in his opening argument. The live bullet on set was the key to Hutchins’ death, he said, adding that an actor is allowed to pull the trigger and behave as his character would. The prop gun Baldwin used was destroyed during the investigation into the shooting, according to Spiro, adding that it was the one item that could prove whether or not Baldwin pulled the trigger. Spiro told jurors members of the “Rust” crew will also testify, saying that none of them knew about the live round that made its way into the prop gun. “None of them had any idea it was on that set or in that gun,” said Spiro, leading jurors back to why the live bullet was there in the first place. “None of it speaks to whether Alec knew or should have known those things. He didn’t. No one on that set did. It was not foreseeable,” he said. “Actors don’t check the weapons. Safety is ensured by dedicated personnel,” he added. Attorney Alex Spiro has told the jury “cold guns can’t hurt people” as he gives opening statements in defense of Alec Baldwin. Spiro said Baldwin was handed a gun by the armorer and was assured it was a cold gun. He said a “cold gun doesn’t mean no live bullets,” but rather, a cold gun doesn’t even have a fake bullet. “You don’t need to worry even about eye gear or ear plugs for that fake bang,” he said. “Cold guns can’t hurt people. It’s impossible. Literally impossible for a cold gun to hurt somebody.” He continued that the belief a prop is a “cold gun” is “why these artists are carrying on in their art. In a significant victory for the defense, Alec Baldwin’s role as a producer on the film “Rust” will not be considered during his involuntary manslaughter trial in the fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled Monday.