(Headline USA) The director of Rust will likely testify against actor Alec Baldwin at his involuntary manslaughter trial in New Mexico, according to court documents.
Jouel Souza was one of the people on set injured by Baldwin after Baldwin fired a prop gun that had a live round in it. He was listed on the prosecution’s witness list for Baldwin’s preliminary hearing later this month, along with 44 other people.
Baldwin was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter last month for his role in the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust. The film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is also facing charges.
Several of the witnesses on Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies’s list were Rust employees who have publicly spoken out against Baldwin and other producers of the film. Camera assistant Lane Luper, for example, quit the film over safety issues right before the fatal shooting, and is listed as a possible witness for the prosecution. Luper has previously said safety procedures on set were “fast and loose.”
“What I put in my resignation letter was lax COVID policies, the housing situation driving to and from Albuquerque, and specifically, gun safety, a lack of rehearsals, a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day,” Luper claimed.
Another possible witness is Serge Svetnoy, the film’s gaffer who blasted the Rust set’s “negligence and unprofessionalism.” Svetnoy has also personally sued Baldwin for negligence, claiming he suffered emotional distress after nearly being hit by the bullet that killed Hutchins.
Baldwin’s legal team has vowed to fight the criminal charges, calling his prosecution a “terrible miscarriage of justice.”
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, said. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”