Prosecutors in Santa Fe are fighting to maintain charges of involuntary manslaughter against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the movie weapons supervisor in the 2021 shooting incident on the set of “Rust” that resulted in the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Legal representatives for Gutierrez-Reed are set to present arguments to dismiss the charges during an upcoming online hearing.
Defense attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed are alleging procedural errors from the prosecution, accusing them of carelessness and publicity stunts that infringe upon their client’s constitutional right to due process. They claim that the charges should be dropped entirely. Additionally, the hearing will address objections to an evidence tampering charge recently filed against Gutierrez-Reed. Prosecutors are seeking to protect the identity of a witness who is prepared to testify that Gutierrez-Reed passed a small bag of illegal substances to them following an interview at a police station. The witness, fearing media harassment and industry blacklisting, wishes to remain anonymous.
Jason Bowles, the defense attorney, contends that the evidence tampering charge is nothing more than a vindictive attempt by prosecutors to tarnish his client’s reputation. Earlier this year, prosecutors dropped the involuntary manslaughter charge against Alec Baldwin, leaving Gutierrez-Reed as the sole remaining defendant in this tragic incident. If convicted, she could face a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
The fatal shooting occurred on October 21, 2021, during a rehearsal for “Rust” when Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a firearm while pointing it at Halyna Hutchins, resulting in her untimely death. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident. In March of this year, “Rust” safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest to a charge of unsafe handling of a firearm and received a suspended sentence of six months’ probation. Halls has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and is listed as a potential witness in upcoming evidentiary hearings to determine if the case will proceed to trial.
As this legal battle continues, the repercussions of the tragic shooting on the set of “Rust” are far-reaching. The film industry awaits the verdict, and the fate of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed hangs in the balance as justice seeks to find resolution in this harrowing ordeal.