Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Alec Baldwin’s role as co-producer not relevant to fatal shooting trial – judge

This aerial photo shows the movie set of Rust, where a cinematographer was shot whilst filming for an Alec Baldwin film (Jae C. Hong/AP)
This aerial photo shows the movie set of Rust, where a cinematographer was shot whilst filming for an Alec Baldwin film (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Alec Baldwin’s role as a producer of the Western film Rust isn’t relevant to the involuntary manslaughter trial over a fatal shooting on set, a New Mexico judge decided on Monday.

The move is a major setback for prosecutors just as trial was about to begin.

They had planned to present evidence that as a producer, Baldwin bore a special responsibility — well beyond that of the actor holding the gun — for the dangerous environment that led to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said: “I’m having real difficulty with the state’s position that they want to show that as a producer, he didn’t follow guidelines and therefore as an actor, Mr Baldwin did all of these things wrong that resulted in the death of Ms Hutchins because as a producer he allowed these things to happen.

“I’m denying evidence of his status as a producer.”

Close up of Alec Baldwin resting his chin on his hand
Actor Alec Baldwin will appear in court on a single charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a cinematographer (Seth Wenig/AP)

Special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson argued unsuccessfully to allow evidence that Baldwin’s “role as a producer made him keenly aware of his responsibilities on set” for safety.

“It goes to Mr Baldwin’s knowledge, knowing that his conduct on set was negligent,” she said.

In the courtroom, Baldwin sat between lead attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro. He appeared to listen intently, taking occasional notes on a yellow legal pad and handing written messages to an attorney. Baldwin wore glasses and close-cropped hair.

The trial starts on July 9 with jury selection and is scheduled to last 10 days.

Last week, the judge cleared the way for crucial firearms experts for the prosecution to testify about Baldwin’s handling of the revolver and whether the gun was functioning properly prior to the fatal shooting.

On Monday, the judge sided with prosecutors to exclude at trial the summary findings from a state workplace safety investigation that places much of the blame on assistant director Dave Halls.

Halls has pleaded no contest to negligent use of a firearm and may be called to testify at Baldwin’s trial.

Baldwin Set Shooting Film Incentives
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot when the accident took place on the Rust film set (Andres Leighton/AP)

Prosecutors say that the workplace safety investigation was incomplete, unreliable and glossed over Baldwin’s responsibilities in the fatal shooting.

Rust Movie Productions paid a 100,000 dollar fine (£77,995) to resolve violations of state safety regulations that were characterised as “serious” but not wilful, under a 2023 settlement agreement.

Several witnesses to the workplace safety investigation are likely to be called to testify at Baldwin’s trial.

Prosecutors also will be able to present graphic images of Ms Hutchins’ injuries from an autopsy report at trial, as well as police lapel camera video of the immediate aftermath of the shooting as medics arrived on set to treat the wounded Ms Hutchins and Joel Souza, the director who was wounded in the incident.

Baldwin is charged with a single felony count of involuntary manslaughter punishable by up to 18 months in prison if he’s convicted.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armourer on set, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Ms Hutchins’ death and sentenced to 18 months in prison. She is appealing the conviction.

In October 2021, Baldwin was rehearsing a cross-draw manoeuvre with the revolver when the gun went off, killing Ms Hutchins and wounding Mr Souza.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty and claims the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Ms Hutchins, who was behind the camera.

Unaware the gun contained a live round, Baldwin said he pulled back the hammer — not the trigger — and it fired.

Screengrab taken from handout body worn video showing Alec Baldwin on a sunny day in Western costume
Baldwin is going on trial on a single charge of involuntary manslaughter (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)

Baldwin’s lawyers also successfully sought to prevent the discussion of fatal gun incidents on movie sets from the trial, including the death of actor Brandon Lee.

Mr Lee died from a fatal shot to the abdomen while filming a scene from The Crow in 1993. In that instance, a makeshift bullet was mistakenly left in a gun from a previous scene and struck Lee during filming for a scene that called for blank rounds.

Prosecutors have agreed not to illicit testimony about The Crow, but contend that Baldwin knew about safety risks posed by guns — even when live rounds are not present.

Ms Marlowe Sommer said she will allow just a single reference at trial to the fact that blank rounds without a projectile can be fatal.

Attorneys for Baldwin argue that it was inconceivable that live rounds would wind up on set.

Prosecutors want to exclude a letter signed by crew members that disputes the characterisations of the “Rust” set as chaotic or dangerous prior to the fatal shooting.

Another pretrial motion might defuse snipping between the prosecution and defence teams.

Prosecutors want the judge to preclude accusations of “prosecutorial misconduct” and “personal attacks.”

Ms Marlowe Sommer said discussion at trial of prosecutorial misconduct will be limited to testimony analysis of the gun in the fatal shooting and FBI forensic testing that damaged the firing mechanism.

Defence attorneys argue that the testing may have destroyed possible exculpatory evidence.

The judge also ruled that evidence and arguments designed to garner sympathy for Baldwin will not be allowed at trial, including indications of remorse or the impact of events on his family.

Prosecutors say those arguments have no bearing on determining guilt.

Baldwin is a three-time Emmy winner who has gone from star and leading man to bit player to scene stealer, at times going years without a major role in a hit film or show.

However, he has remained a household name for nearly 35 years, largely on the strength of his real-life personality: as an outspoken liberal, talk-show guest and the king of all Saturday Night Live hosts.