Alec Baldwin was reckless with prop gun: prosecutors

New evidence shows Alec Baldwin was reckless with a revolver before the weapon fired a live round that killed Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021, prosecutors have alleged ahead of the actor's July manslaughter trial.

The evidence, which includes images and video from crew and a set photographer, shows Baldwin pointed his gun at a crew member and fired a blank round, held his finger on the trigger when not supposed to and engaged in horseplay with the weapon, special state prosecutors said in a Monday filing.

Baldwin's legal team said in a Monday motion to dismiss charges that prosecutors had built their case around the unproven hypothesis the gun was properly functioning and could not have gone off unless he pulled the trigger, an act the actor denies.

Baldwin Set Shooting
The set of the movie Rust at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (AP PHOTO)

Baldwin's legal team argue the gun was modified, allowing it to fire without a trigger pull, an issue that has become central to the 17-month-old case.

Hutchins died after Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez mistakenly loaded a live round into Baldwin's reproduction Colt .45 revolver during filming in a movie-set church near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gutierrez in March was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced in April to 18 months in prison, the same term Baldwin will face if found guilty.

Baldwin said he was directed to point the gun toward the camera, he cocked it, and it "went off" on its own.

Among apparently new evidence that prosecutors intend to show at the July 9 trial is an image by set photographer Karen Kuehn taken minutes before a 911 call on the shooting.

In the photo, Baldwin appears to have his finger inside the trigger guard and his thumb on the hammer, prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Erlinda Johnson said in the filing.

A video clip taken by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell a couple of hours prior to the shooting appears to show Baldwin cock the gun and possibly pull the trigger, the prosecutors said.

In a further unspecified video on the day of the shooting Baldwin is asked to point the revolver left of camera and cocks the gun, despite not being asked to. There is some evidence he also pulls the trigger of the gun, prosecutors alleged.

Movie industry firearms safety guidelines tell actors never to put their finger on the trigger until ready to shoot, treat all firearms as though loaded, and not point a gun at anyone unless absolutely necessary, and then in consultation with a safety expert.

Some of the video evidence listed by prosecutors appeared to already have been shown at the March trial of Gutierrez.