Jury assembly for Alec Baldwin's trial in New Mexico

SANTA FE, NM — Sixteen jurors were named Tuesday for Alec Baldwin's manslaughter trial in New Mexico, with opening arguments scheduled to start Wednesday.

Five men and 11 women were chosen by special prosecutors from Santa Fe County and the actor's defense team. Twelve shall be appointed as jurors and 4 as alternates by the court after the case is heard.

They must resolve whether Baldwin committed the crime when a gun went off while he was pointing it at camerawoman Halyna Hutchins, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza, during a rehearsal in October 2021. They were on the set of the western film “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch, about 18 miles from the positioning of the trial.

Media were barred from the courtroom as attorneys used their objections to dismiss jurors. Judge Mary Marlowe Summer swore within the jury and told them to avoid news of the case and report Wednesday morning.

Baldwin, 66, faces as much as 18 months in prison if the jury unanimously finds him guilty.

The selection process got off to a slow start on Tuesday, delayed by over two hours attributable to technical issues, however the panel was chosen in a single day as expected.

When Marlowe Sommer asked the 70 potential jurors in the event that they were acquainted with the case, all but two raised their hands, indicating that they were acquainted with the case.

Two others stated that they were unable to be fair and impartial and were excused.

Baldwin, the star of “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and a serious Hollywood figure for 35 years, sat within the courtroom with a team of 4 of his lawyers, wearing a gray suit, dark tie, white shirt, glasses and neatly combed hair.

His wife, Hilaria Baldwin, and his brother, “The Usual Suspects” actor Stephen Baldwin, sat behind the courtroom.

Under questioning by prosecutor Kari Morrissey, one potential juror said she hated guns, but many others admitted to owning them and few expressed strong opinions about guns.

Baldwin's attorney Alex Spiro emphasized the seriousness of the situation in his questioning – “obviously someone lost their life” – and asked jurors to share any concerns that they had about their ability to evaluate fairly and impartially.

“Does anyone even remotely share this view?” Spiro asked the group.

He asked them to return forward in the event that they had expressed their opinion concerning the case online. No one did so.

Spiro asked if any of them had a transparent opinion on gun safety and whether one could rely not only on oneself but additionally on an authority to make sure gun safety.

Several said they all the time treat a gun as if it were loaded. One man said he was taught to respect and treat guns the identical way, but he also relied on an instructor during training for a permit to hold a concealed weapon.

Spiro also asked whether jurors wouldn’t mind questioning the decision of law enforcement officials, even once they testified under oath.

He asked if anyone knew any possible witnesses, and a number of other said they knew Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who’s on the prosecution's witness list.

Even in Los Angeles or Baldwin's hometown of New York, it will be unusual to sit down in on a trial of such an enormous star accused of such a serious crime. But for jurors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, it would be an almost unheard of experience, regardless that the state has turn out to be a growing center of Hollywood production in recent times.

Baldwin and his wife arrived early to court with their youngest child, Ilaria Catalina Irena Baldwin. The couple has seven children ranging in age from one to 10.

Baldwin said the gun by accident fired after he followed instructions to point it at Hutchins, who was behind the camera. Not knowing the gun contained live ammunition, Baldwin said he pulled back the hammer – not the trigger – and a shot fired.

Hutchins was considered a rising star in film photography when she was killed at age 42. She was the mother of a young son who grew up on a distant Soviet military base and worked on documentaries in Eastern Europe before studying film in Los Angeles and launching a profession as a filmmaker.

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