A Hollywood celebrity faces serious charges after fatally opening fire on Halyna Hutchins, a lawyer said on Oct. 24.
Defense attorney Denise Bohdan believes actor Alec Baldwin could face a “legal nightmare” after allegedly shooting the “Rust” cinematographer.
“Yes, Alec Baldwin was the main producer but it might be found out that another producer did more to cut corners,” he said according to the New York Post. “I do not think there will be anything as bad as a murder charge but this is going to be a legal nightmare for Baldwin.”
Lawyer and analyst Jonathan Turley revealed the celebrity was not “simply an actor.”
“He was also one of the producers on a site that had reportedly experienced prior discharges and complaints about site safety,” he said according to Fox News.
New Mexico state law suggests Baldwin could face up to 18 months in jail and $5,000 in fines, if found guilty of a “pattern of negligence, including prior downloads of these prop guns.”
“The most likely liability for Baldwin would stem from civil liability in the form of a wrongful death action,” Turley said according to the broadcaster. “Indeed, the question is not whether but when the first torts lawsuit will be filed.”
There is even potential for other producers to be charged with “involuntary manslaughter.”
“If there was a pattern of neglect, including prior discharges from these prop weapons, the producers could be charged with involuntary manslaughter,” the lawyer said.
Three accidental weapon discharges and other irregularities allegedly occurred at the time of the tragedy. This raises doubt over whether necessary precautions or protocols were followed to avoid workplace fatalities.
Workers recently resorted to industrial action after a number of them complained about the 80 kilometer (50 mile) drive to the movie set. They accuse producers of failing to arrange accommodation close to work.
“There were no safety meetings,” Turley said. “There was no assurance that it would not happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”
Los Angeles-based Costa Law attorney Joseph Costa believes there could be grounds for negligent homicide charges. This is because confirming whether lethal bullets were loaded in the gun should have been relatively simple.
“As an executive producer, you are in a position of control and you can get prosecuted criminally,” Costa said according to the New York Post. “It is the equivalent of drinking and driving, meaning someone may not have intended to cause great harm but they do.”
Husband of the victim Matthew Hutchins suspects nobody checked the prop gun to save time.