By MORGAN LEE Associated Press
Actor Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of a Western movie and waived his first formal court appearance, in court documents filed Thursday.
Baldwin and a weapons supervisor were charged last month with felony involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in October 2021.
Baldwin agreed to forgo a hearing to have his rights explained to him. A judge on Thursday set conditions of release that allow Baldwin to have limited contact with potential witnesses in connection with plans to complete the filming of “Rust.”
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are preparing for a likely preliminary hearing within a few months to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed to trial.
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Other provisions of Baldwin’s pretrial release include a prohibition on consuming alcohol and against any possession of weapons, including firearms.
“Defendant is permitted to have contact with potential witnesses only … in connection with completing the ‘Rust’ movie and other related and unrelated business matters; provided, however, that defendant is not permitted to discuss the accident at issue,” state District Judge Mary Marlowe said in a signed order.
The involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin, a lead actor and co-producer on “Rust,” and armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law.
Authorities said Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.