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Alec Baldwin in a state of 'sheer panic and dread' ahead of Rust manslaughter court trial


Hollywood star Alec Baldwin is in a state of “sheer panic and dread” over his upcoming July trial for involuntary manslaughter on the set of western movie Rust, say close friends.

They claim the veteran actor and father-of-eight, who turned 66 this month, fears he could end up behind bars like the film’s inexperienced armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was last week jailed for eighteen months on the same charge.

One longtime business associate of Baldwin declared: “He’s been a hot mess since the verdict and he’s terrified he may suffer the same fate.” A second showbiz pal added: “His whole family is on a knife-edge of sheer panic. Alec dreads the possibility of losing his freedom, his career and the fortune he has built.”

Baldwin – who has won three Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards and starred in blockbuster films such as The Hunt for Red October, Pearl Harbour and Married to the Mob – has already entered a plea of not guilty over the tragic accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyma Hutchins, 42, on the Rust set in 2021.

In a bizarre twist, however, prosecutors in New Mexico have revealed Baldwin and his legal team blew the chance of a plea deal six months ago that offered him six months’ probation, community service, a small fine and a mandatory firearms safety class in return for pleading guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge.

These are exactly the same terms accepted by Rust’s assistant director Dave Halls last year. But the offer to Baldwin was rescinded after special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis claimed they “received no response at all” from the actor’s attorneys.

They also allege one of those lawyers leaked details of the deal to a TV news reporter at the same time Baldwin publicly declared his intention to sue the state and also revealed he aims to make a documentary airing his side of the story.

Baldwin, an executive producer on Rust, accidentally shot and killed Ms. Hutchins, who was married with a young son, during set rehearsals with an antique six-shooter that should have been loaded with dummy rounds but instead had live bullets.

An initial charge of involuntary manslaughter – in January 2022 – was dropped three months later when FBI ballistics experts determined further tests should be carried out on the vintage firearm.

The charge was reinstated in January this year following a grand jury indictment in the same Santa Fe courtroom where armourer Gutierrez-Reed, 27, received the maximum sentence of 18 months’ prison on the same charge last Monday.

Baldwin’s friend said: “He’s been in a state of shock since hearing that verdict – knowing he has to face the same charge in the same court in front of the same judge in less than three months.”

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