Alec Baldwin trial: How long would he go to prison if convicted?

(NEXSTAR) – Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of Alec Baldwin, who is facing a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter in the movie-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. If he’s found guilty, the actor could face a punishment of prison time.

Baldwin, 66, has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge in the 2021 shooting during a rehearsal for the Western movie “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. A revolver went off while Baldwin was pointing it at Hutchins. The shooting killed her, and injured director Joel Souza.

If convicted, Baldwin could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, under New Mexico’s sentencing laws for a fourth-degree felony.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer would preside over the sentencing phase of the trial at a later date, if the jury reaches a unanimous guilty conviction.

Baldwin’s lawyers argued the actor bears no responsibility for the “unspeakable tragedy.” Baldwin said he was not aware the gun was loaded with a live round.

His defense team says the responsibility lies with the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and assistant director David Halls.

Gutierrez-Reed has already been convicted of manslaughter and received the maximum 18-month sentence. Judge Sommer, who also oversaw her trial, said anything less than the maximum sentence would not be appropriate given that Gutierrez-Reed’s recklessness amounted to a serious violent offense.

“You were the armorer, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone,” the judge told Gutierrez-Reed. “You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Ms. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Assistant director Halls pleaded no contest to negligent use of a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation as part of his plea deal.

Baldwin’s trial is expected to last nine days. After testimony concludes, the jury can deliberate as long as they need.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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