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Watch Live: Testimony Begins in Trial of Alec Baldwin, Accused of Shooting Death on ‘Rust’ Movie

Testimony began Wednesday in the trial of award-winning actor Alec Baldwin, who is accused in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust.” Baldwin has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Earlier Wednesday, prosecutor Erlinda Johnson delivered opening statements for the prosecution, telling jurors that a prop gun “is a real gun” and asserting that Baldwin requested to be assigned the largest gun available. Johnson said Baldwin abused the gun on set, such as using it as a pointer.

Throughout Johnson’s opening statement, prosecutors played images from the set, including images of Hutchins and the church where the shooting took place behind her, Baldwin in a suit, the church surrounded by crime scene tape and emergency personnel working.

Alex Spiro then began the defense’s opening statement, telling the jury that critical safety issues on set were not Baldwin’s fault — that safety checks should be performed before a gun goes into an actor’s hand. The defense played scenes during opening statements that included the director’s comments to Baldwin to repeat the scene, which Spiro said indicated no one believed there was any danger from the gun.

Jury selection Tuesday was marred by delays, with the hearings of the 70 potential jurors starting several hours later than expected. But by the end of the day, that pool had been whittled down to 16 jurors, four of whom are alternates. The 11 women and five men sitting will hear the case in the coming weeks and decide whether the 66-year-old actor should be convicted.

Here’s what you need to know.

Actor Alec Baldwin listens during his hearing in Santa Fe County District Court on July 10, 2024 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

ROSS D. FRANKLIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


What happened on the “Rust” set?

Around 2:00 p.m. local time on October 21, 2021, a firearm Baldwin was holding went off, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza during a rehearsal in a small church on set. Baldwin, the Western’s star and co-producer, has said he pulled back the Colt .45’s hammer, but didn’t pull the trigger.

It was the authorities called to the recording at Bonanza Creek Ranch and Hutchins was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque via helicopter, where she died of her injuries, the sheriff’s office said at the time.

Authorities searching the set found live ammunition. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined in 2022 that the incident was an accident.

What charge is Alec Baldwin facing?

Alec Baldwin is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony. If convicted, he faces up to a year and a half in prison. He has Pleaded not guilty.

He was originally charged in January 2023 but prosecutors dismissed those charges three months later. Prosecutors again indicted Baldwin on charges of involuntary manslaughter in January.

Baldwin asked that the charges be dismissed, but the judge oversaw the case refused his request.

Where is the trial, when does it start and how long will it last?

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer is presiding over the trial in New Mexico’s First District Court in Santa Fe.

The judge set the trial calendar to run from July 9-19. Jury selection was completed on Tuesday, meaning opening statements are available for Wednesday. The courtroom is expected to conclude on July 19, after which the case will go to the jury for deliberations.

Court starts at 8:30 a.m. MDT, 10:30 a.m. EDT. The judge said she expects court to break at 10:15 a.m. local time, at lunch and then at 3:30 p.m.

Although cameras were not allowed in the courtroom during jury selection, the trial will be live streamed.

Will Alec Baldwin testify?

Baldwin’s lawyers have not said whether the actor will take the stand in his own defense. The actor has been in court for the trial and is expected to attend every day.

Who else is expected to testify?

The the state’s witness list contains 44 names, while the defense lists 14 people as potential witnesses.

While prosecutors wanted to call the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who has already been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the case, the judge ruled in June that she could not be compelled to testify against Baldwin even though she remains on the prosecution’s list of potential witnesses. She did not testify in her own defense.

The prosecutor’s list of dozens of potential witnesses includes Joel Souza, the film’s director who was also injured in the shoot, along with several people who also also testified at Gutierrez-Reed’s trial, as Seth Kenney, who owned the prop gun company that supplied the film’s ammunition; Wyatt Mortenson, a stuntman on the film; and Gabrielle Pickle, a line producer.

Defense shorter list of potential witnesses include David Halls, Assistant Director and Security Coordinator; Ryan Winterstern, a producer who also testified in Gutierrez-Reed’s trial; and other members of the crew, among others.

Los Angeles-based Hutchins, 42, was a self-described “restless dreamer” and “adrenaline junkie” who grew up on a remote Soviet military base. The Ukrainian-born cinematographer earned a degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University and graduated from the American Film Institute conservatory. Widely considered a rising star, her work included “Archenemy,” with Joe Manganiello, “Blindfire,” and “Darlin’,” which premiered at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

Baldwin announced in 2022 that he had decided a trial in case of death with Hutchins’ family: her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their son, Andros.

Has anyone else been charged in the case?

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the bodyguard who supervised firearms on the set, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. But she Pleaded not guiltyshe was sentenced in March and sentenced to 18 months behind bars after a trial overseen by the same judge who oversaw Baldwin’s case. Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted on a charge of tampering with evidence.

Previously, Halls pleaded no contest to unsafe handling of a firearm. Halls, who agreed to cooperate in the shooting investigation, received a six-month suspended sentence.

The production company that oversaw the film was fine of $136,000the highest under state law, by the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Agency over the incident.

Elise Preston and Kathleen Seccombe contributed to this report.

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