Could Alec Baldwin be charged in fatal film shooting incident?

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**Related Video Above: Local film commission says tragedy on set of Alec Baldwin movie sheds light on prop gun risks**

(WJW) — Last week, actor Alec Baldwin shot a prop gun that killed one and injured another on the set of the low-budget film “Rust” in New Mexico.

Baldwin reportedly did not know the weapon had live rounds after it was handed to him by a member of the crew who said it was a “cold gun.” When he pulled the trigger, a bullet struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza, killing Hutchins.

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin said in a tweet Friday, explaining he was working with authorities.

Now with film production paused, and internal and law enforcement investigations underway, questions are being raised about the legal ramifications of the incident.

Jonathan Turley, an attorney and law professor at George Washington University, said in a FOX News article that there is a chance Baldwin could be charged in the incident, but there are many intangibles.

“The most likely liability for Baldwin would stem from civil liability in the form of a wrongful death action,” Turley wrote. “Indeed, the question is not whether but when the first torts lawsuit will be filed.”

As far as criminal liability is concerned, Turley says that Baldwin could be charged, but more likely a criminal charge would be made against the assistant director (who reportedly failed to check the gun prior to handing Baldwin the gun) and prop manager.

Baldwin is also a producer of the film, and that’s where potential criminal charges could apply. Involuntary manslaughter charges (a fourth-degree felony) are allowed in New Mexico for “the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.” A pattern of neglect must be established by prosecutors, and if a case is made, Baldwin could be looking at up to 18 months in jail along with a $5,000 fine.

The film set reportedly also had other issues, with some workers voicing concerns and protesting conditions just hours before the tragic incident took place last week.

“The clearest case could be brought by the family of Hutchins as a wrongful death action,” Turley wrote of the incident. “They could also seek punitive damages in such a case.”

The film production companies are probably going to work with the family to settle quickly and quietly, Turley pointed out, but it remains unclear how legal action is going to unfold.

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