On the eve of the first hearing of the trial for the fatal shooting on the set of his film Rust, Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the charge of manslaughter.

The actor has long denied responsibility for the October 2021 tragedy when a bullet from a gun he was holding mortally wounded the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin was due to appear in court, but after giving his position to the Court in writing, he will not be present at the hearing.

On October 21, 2021, the set on a New Mexico ranch turned into the site of a tragedy when Baldwin fired a gun that was supposed to contain only blank bullets, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin is charged in New Mexico with manslaughter and faces an 18-month prison sentence, as does the film's gunner Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Prosecutors recently dropped a charge against the actor for an aggravating circumstance that could have put him behind bars for five years.

Baldwin, best known for his role in the series "30 Rock", has always maintained his innocence. According to him, he had been assured that his gun was harmless and denies pulling the trigger. This statement has been questioned by many experts.