“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is filing to dismiss the charges against her following a new round of forensic testing on the gun that was used to kill cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and hospitalize director Joel Souza.
The “Rust” armorer and actor Alec Baldwin had each been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in January 2023; however, the charges against Baldwin were dropped without prejudice in April shortly before began so the two new special prosecutors would have more time to prepare their case.
Although Gutierrez-Reed’s trial was postponed to August, she is hoping that a judge will dismiss the lawsuit entirely, following law enforcement’s allegedly “sloppy” investigation into Hutchins’ death.
‘Rust’ Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Hopeful Judge Will Drop Manslaughter Charges Amid New Forensic Testing
Lawyers for former “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed took to the courts on Thursday to try to get the two involuntary manslaughter charges against her dismissed by a New Mexico judge (as per Deadline). Her legal team criticized the “sloppy investigation,” which at one point erroneously charged both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed with a firearm enhancement that wasn’t enacted into law until months after Hutchins was killed on set.
“They directed a sloppy investigation in which key evidence was destroyed, made overly aggressive charging decisions, including an elementary Constitutional mistake, and undertook road shows to disparage Reed and to promote their own personal brands,” lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed wrote in the court filing, which can be read in full here.
In the thirty-three-page report, attorneys Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion wrote, “Because this prosecution was motivated by personal interests — not the facts or the law — it was shaped with the goal of prevailing in the court of public opinion, not a jury trial.” They went on to say, “As a result, corners were cut and the prosecution team committed other due process and ethical violations.”
The former “Rust’ armorer has pleaded not guilty to two charges of involuntary manslaughter. If she is found guilty, she is facing a maximum of eighteen months behind bars and around $5,000 in fines… if the case ever makes it to a jury. The preliminary hearing, to determine whether or not the trial will proceed, has been postponed until August.
The Gun Used In The Shooting Has Been Reportedly Damaged By FBI Testing
Part of the alleged “sloppy investigation” allegations comes down to the gun that was used in the shooting. According to her legal team, the firearm was damaged as a result of the FBI testing that the weapon underwent when the FBI stepped in to help investigate the high-profile case.
“After repeatedly striking the firearm with a rawhide mallet, internal components of the firearm broke,” Bowles and Bullion explain in the court filing. “The unavailability of this material evidence is prejudicial to Reed. Mr. Baldwin’s charges have now been dismissed, on grounds that the firearm was ‘modified,’ and that the FBI’ s destruction of the sear renders an ultimate determination now impossible or near impossible.”
The Santa Fe District Attorney stepped down to allow the hire of two new special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, but they dropped the charges against the Emmy-award-winning actor only weeks after they joined the case. That being said, they warned that charges “may be refiled” as they continue their investigation.
“Over the last few days and in preparation for the May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis in the case against Alexander ‘Alec’ Rae Baldwin, III,” they wrote in a statement in April.
“Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form. We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation,” they continued. “This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled. Our follow-up investigation will remain active and on-going.”
There is new speculation that the reason the charges were dropped against the actor is that the firearm in question was modified and could have gone off without the actor pulling the trigger. Baldwin has maintained that he has never pulled the trigger, even in an interview with ABC only weeks after Hutchins’ death.