International

Jury selection starts slowly at Alec Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter trial

By The Canadian Press

Published 2:14 PDT, Tue July 9, 2024

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Jury selection got off to a slow start Tuesday in a New Mexico courtroom at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Alec Baldwin in the shooting of a cinematographer. 

The judge and attorneys had expected to have a jury seated within a day, but questioning of prospective jurors didn't begin until more than two hours later than expected because of technical problems. 

When Judge Mary Marlowe Summer asked the pool of 70 prospective jurors if they were familiar with the case, all but two raised their hands to indicate they were. 

Two others indicated they would not be able to be fair and impartial and were excused. 

The 66-year-old Baldwin, the star of “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and a major Hollywood figure for 35 years, sat in the courtroom with a team of four of his lawyers, dressed in a gray suit, dark tie, white shirt with glasses and neatly combed hair.

His wife Hilaria Baldwin and his brother, “The Usual Suspects” actor Stephen Baldwin, were seated in the back of the courtroom.

Under questioning from prosecutor Kari Morrissey, a potential juror said she hates firearms, but many others acknowledged owning them and few people expressed strong opinions about guns.

No jurors had been selected before a mid-afternoon lunch break. 

Getting chosen to serve in a trial of such a major star accused of such a major crime would be unusual even in Los Angeles or Baldwin’s hometown of New York. But it will be essentially an unheard-of experience for those who are picked as jurors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, though in recent years the state has increasingly become a hub of Hollywood production.

Baldwin and his wife arrived at the courthouse early with their youngest child, Ilaria Catalina Irena Baldwin. The couple have seven children, ranging in ages from 1 to 10.

Baldwin could get up to 18 months in prison if jurors unanimously decide to convict him. The jurors will be tasked with deciding whether Baldwin committed the felony when, during a rehearsal in October 2021, a revolver went off while he was pointing it at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. They were on the set of the Western film “Rust,” at Bonanza Creek Ranch some 18 miles (29 kilometers) from where the trial is being held.

Baldwin has said the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Hutchins, who was behind the camera. Unaware that the gun contained a live round, Baldwin said he pulled back the hammer — not the trigger — and it fired.

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Dalton reported from Los Angeles. 

– Morgan Lee and Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

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