Significant Developments in the ‘Rust’ Armorer’s Trial Provide Light on Alec Baldwin’s Legal Status

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Thanks to the conviction and prosecution of a movie armorer in connection with a deadly shooting on the set of the Western picture “Rust,” Alec Baldwin and his attorneys have been given an unparalleled look at how his own trial for the death may unfold. After less than three hours of deliberation, a New Mexico jury on Wednesday found armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of filmmaker Halyna Hutchins.

She was arrested right away and is currently awaiting sentencing, which might result in an 18-month prison sentence.

Over two weeks, Baldwin played a significant role in testimony and closing arguments that emphasized his authority as “Rust’s” star actor and co-producer. In the trial of Gutierrez-Reed, both the prosecution and defense examined camera evidence of Baldwin before the deadly shot in search of hints on violations of gun safety.

The same judge, prosecutors, and witnesses will all be present for Baldwin’s trial, which is set for July. Director Joel Souza was injured, and Hutchins was killed when Baldwin, according to Baldwin’s account, drew back the gun’s hammer but not the trigger.

After closely observing Gutierrez-Reed’s trial, Emily D. Baker, a legal analyst and former deputy district attorney from Los Angeles who was not engaged in the case, stated that Baldwin and his legal team will benefit by seeing it through to the finish.

“They’re in a unique position where they can observe this prosecutor in action, observe the workings of this judge, and arrive at the hearing fully informed about the opinions of these experts and their presentation to the jury,” Baker stated on Wednesday. “This is a very different case than the one against Hannah, and I don’t think Baldwin will want to deal in this one,” said the attorney for Baldwin.

Rust' Armorer's Trial Provide Light on Alec Baldwin's Legal Status

According to Baker, a prosecution weapons expert in Gutierrez-Reed’s case provided compelling testimony. However, the armorer specialist agreed with Baldwin’s team’s assertion that it wasn’t his responsibility to inspect the weapon, according to Baker.

Expert witness and movie firearms consultant Bryan Carpenter testified that images showed Baldwin firing close-range blanks towards a camera in a “no-go” area, informing crew members to quickly reload his revolver despite safety protocols, and waving a gun like a pointing stick after a scene ended. The sound of Baldwin pulling a gun after the director shouts, “Cut!” is captured in another tape.

The shooting occurred on October 21, 2021, during a rehearsal inside a temporary church on a movie set outside of Santa Fe. No video recordings of the incident have been discovered by investigators. Nonetheless, previously unreleased testimony from gunshot witnesses was presented during Gutierrez-Reed’s prosecution.

Among the witnesses was Souza, who went in to have a better look at the video monitor and felt the force of a bullet, although he never saw the gun that shot him.

Visceral recollections of the pistol discharge and the aftermath were also provided by assistant director Dave Halls and a camera-dolly operator. According to Mamie Mitchell’s testimony, Baldwin was not required to point the gun in the screenplay.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey said during her final statements against Gutierrez-Reed, “Alec Baldwin is going to have to answer for his actions and his lack of gun safety inside that church on that day.” “Not today, and not with you. That will happen another day, with a different jury.

 

In January, Morrissey and his co-counsel Jason Lewis took Baldwin’s case before a grand jury, and they were successful in getting an indictment on the one felony count, which opens up two possible avenues of prosecution. They were able to relaunch the case following the dismissal of Baldwin’s initial involuntary manslaughter charge due to a new study of the gun.

According to the research done by Forensic Science Services in Arizona, “the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

The pistol arrived with all safety measures in working condition, according to the author of an earlier FBI study on the weapon, who testified during the Gutierrez-Reed trial. The revolver’s hammer was fully retracted, and the only way it would discharge was if you struck it with a mallet and broke it.

 

Baldwin’s defense lawyers have not indicated that they will make any concessions to the special prosecutors chosen by Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies. The DA is seeking reelection and will face a former prosecutor in the Democratic primary in June.

Without mentioning Baldwin, Carmack-Altwies pledged justice for Hutchins and her family in a fundraising message dated February, saying that “no matter who else is involved.”

She wrote, “No one in my jurisdiction escapes responsibility because of fame, wealth, or connections.”

“Is Mr. Baldwin on trial today?” a prosecutor inquired of one of the prosecution’s witnesses during Gutierrez-Reed’s trial last week, stating the obvious.

“It seems like he is a little, yes,” stated Ross Addiego, a crew member who was there for the close-quarters gunshot death and who filed a civil lawsuit against Baldwin.

The complaint is one of several based on allegations that the defendants were careless with safety regulations, including wrongful death claims brought by Hutchins’ family. These accusations have been refuted by Baldwin and the other defendants.

Following the New Mexico shoot, “Rust” was shot in Montana thanks to an arrangement with Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, who became an executive producer.