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12 jurors selected for Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial

A full 12-person jury was selected Tuesday for Alec Baldwin’s trial in New Mexico, where he is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western film “Rust” in 2021.

He could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison if the jurors unanimously agree he committed the felony.

Baldwin was rehearsing a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe County on Oct. 21, 2021, when the prop revolver he was holding went off, killing Hutchins, 42, and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty. He claims that he was not aware the revolver contained a live round and that it discharged accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Hutchins.

Baldwin, 66, and his defense team won a major legal victory Monday when First Judicial District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled during a pretrial hearing that Baldwin’s role as a co-producer on “Rust” is not relevant to the trial. The move prevents prosecutors from arguing that he bore a special responsibility on the set.

The road to the trial was paved with twists and turns. 

He was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter and a firearm enhancement charge, but the latter charge was eventually dropped. The charges were dismissed altogether in April 2023 as prosecutors cited “new facts in the case.” Then, in January, a grand jury indicted him on an involuntary manslaughter charge once again.

Baldwin’s lawyers asked the judge last month to toss the case, arguing that the firearm was badly damaged during forensic testing at an FBI lab. But their motion was denied.

Baldwin is not the only person involved in the “Rust” production who has faced criminal charges.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer assigned to handle all prop guns on the “Rust” set, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in early March. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison and is seeking a retrial.

The First Judicial District Court brought in dozens of prospective jurors for questioning Tuesday. The cameras in the room were turned off to protect their identities and privacy, but the rest of the legal proceedings will be livestreamed.

Four alternate jurors were selected Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors asked prospective jurors a series of uniform questions, including whether any of them owned a firearm, held a concealed carry permit or worked in the film industry.

The trial is scheduled to last around 10 days. It was not clear whether Baldwin planned to take the witness stand in his own defense.

Baldwin arrived at the courthouse Tuesday in a gray suit, a dark tie, a white shirt and eyeglasses. Four people sat in the back row, including his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, and one of his brothers, actor Stephen Baldwin.

Baldwin is a three-time Emmy winner known for NBC’s “30 Rock” and his record 17 hosting stints on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” He has appeared in films such as “Beetlejuice,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “The Cooler,” the last of which earned him an Oscar nomination.

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