The manslaughter trial of Alec Baldwin, stemming from the fatal shooting incident on the set of the Western film in 2021, commences on Tuesday. The jury selection is crucial as they will determine whether the death of a crew member from the movie 'Rust' was due to Baldwin's negligence. During a rehearsal, the renowned actor aimed a prop gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, which unexpectedly discharged a live round, resulting in her death and injuring the film's director. Baldwin, aged 66, maintains that he was unaware the gun was loaded and claims he did not pull the trigger. Prosecutors argue that Baldwin's actions on set were reckless and that he has inconsistently recounted the events since October 2021. Despite several unsuccessful attempts by Baldwin's legal team to dismiss the case, the trial is set to proceed in New Mexico, with jury selection starting today and opening arguments anticipated tomorrow. The trial is expected to span approximately ten days.

Baldwin's celebrity status and the unusual nature of on-set fatalities have drawn international attention and sparked polarized views. Some sympathizers see Baldwin as a victim, unfairly targeted by prosecutors partly due to his celebrity and political affiliations. In contrast, others believe Hutchins's death was preventable, a consequence of alleged erratic and complacent behavior by Baldwin. Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey has criticized Baldwin's conduct on set, stating that it reflects a lack of emotional control and disregard for the impact of his actions on others. If convicted, Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison, though it remains uncertain whether he will testify in his defense. The incident occurred nearly three years ago during a rehearsal at Bonanza Creek Ranch, where Baldwin was practicing a scene involving his character, an elderly outlaw, drawing a Colt six-shooter in a chapel. Baldwin asserts that he was assured the gun was safe, followed Hutchins's direction to aim the revolver at her, and did not pull the trigger. Live ammunition is prohibited on film sets, and Baldwin has argued that it was not his responsibility as an actor to verify the gun's safety.

The production of 'Rust' was suspended due to the tragedy but resumed last year in Montana. Earlier this year, the film's armourer was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison, revealing potential arguments the prosecution might use against Baldwin. The armourer's defense highlighted Baldwin's violation of fundamental gun safety rules, including pointing a gun at someone without intending to fire. Morrissey emphasized that Baldwin's actions in the chapel will require explanation. On Monday, Baldwin, dressed in a dark suit and striped tie, attended a final pre-trial hearing, taking meticulous notes. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer has ruled that prosecutors cannot argue Baldwin's additional role as a producer on 'Rust' increases his culpability. Despite previous attempts to dismiss the case, the trial's initiation is a victory for the prosecution. One of Baldwin's defense arguments was that damage to the gun during FBI testing compromised his chance for a fair trial. The FBI concluded that the gun could not have fired without the trigger being pulled, a finding the defense believes they were denied the opportunity to challenge. The judge overruled these objections, paving the way for the trial to proceed.