Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter

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Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

According to court documents, the Rust star entered his plea online on Thursday and waived his right to a virtual court hearing, which was set for Friday.

Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter in January following a police investigation into the death of Hutchins, who was shot when the actor's prop firearm discharged during a rehearsal on the set of Rust in October 2021.

He could face up to 18 months in prison if found guilty.

On Monday, New Mexico prosecutors dropped a firearm enhancement charge against Baldwin and set armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed that would have seen them serve up to five years in prison if found guilty. The prosecutors said the enhancement did not apply as the alleged crime took place before the law pertaining to it was passed.

Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter charge was filed in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, where the Rust production was based.

Prosecutors have accused Baldwin of "criminal negligence" on the film's set, saying Baldwin's lack of responsibility as a lead actor and producer led to Hutchins's death. Previously, Baldwin's lawyer Luke Nikas countered, "He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds."

Nikas insisted that Baldwin "had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun - or anywhere on the movie set".

Gutierrez-Reed has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly failing to ensure dummy bullets were loaded into the prop gun. The armourer has been scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Rust's producers announced on Wednesday that filming would resume this spring, with the production shifting to Montana.