Police release pAlec Baldwin questioned by police after fatal Rust shootinghotos from the set of Rust after fatal shooting

Criminal Attorney Believes Alec Baldwin Will Win ‘Rust’ Trial

Home / News / Criminal Attorney Believes Alec Baldwin Will Win ‘Rust’ Trial

By Kristin Myers on February 29, 2024 at 12:45 PM EST

Actor Alec Baldwin is facing a minimum of 18 months behind bars if he is convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

In October 2021, a gun that the "30 Rock" actor was holding went off, fatally wounding Hutchins. Although charges were initially pressed against him in January 2023, they were dropped a few months later pending further investigation.

Charges were refiled in January 2024, to which the 65-year-old actor has pleaded not guilty. Although his trial will not begin until July, the fatal shooting is again making headlines due to armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who is currently on trial for charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

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Criminal Attorney Believes Alec Baldwin Will Not Be Convicted In 'Rust' Trial

Alec Baldwin sits down with police for interview following Rust shooting

Although Alec Baldwin's trial does not start until later this summer, his name has come up plenty of times in the trial featuring "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Although the prosecution has tried to paint the rookie armorer as unprofessional and sloppy, her lawyers have argued that she is being used as a "scapegoat."

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Criminal trial attorney and "Death By Fame" expert Sara Azari told the Daily Mail on Thursday that she believes that Alec Baldwin will not face time behind bars and walk away a free man. Azari noted that the prosecution "clearly want to make an example out of Alec Baldwin, but you want to go after the armorer. That's her duty. It's protocol that the actor relies on the safety of props given to them by those who are in charge of the safety of those props and so that's exactly what he did."

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"[At the time of the shooting] the armorer has sort of disappeared and left the gun with the second director, the second director says the prop is cold meaning that is not loaded with live rounds. And that was not true," she continued, although law enforcement officials have admitted that they still don't know exactly how live ammunition ended up on a movie set.

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It Is Unclear How Live Ammunition Ended Up On The 'Rust' Set

Police release photos from the set of Rust after fatal shooting

Although it remains to be seen if the prop gun used in the shooting will be presented during the armorer's trial, Azari branded the case an "embarrassment" after learning that the gun was altered when the FBI took it in for testing.

"We have a huge problem here because that gun is the smoking gun, literally, is the piece of evidence in this case, and that gun is no longer in the condition that it was when it was fired at Halyna Hutchins," Azari stated. "You cannot bring in an animation and convict somebody on an altered gun, so it's a very problematic case for the prosecution."

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"For you to get up in front of a jury as a prosecutor and try to demonstrate what happened or how Alec Baldwin describes what happened is not true, you need the gun in the condition that it was exactly the time that he held it in his hand whether or not you believe he pulled the trigger is a different story, but don't have that," she continued, adding, "I feel very strongly that Baldwin is going to win."

Criminal Attorney Puts Blame On 'Rust' Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed seen after fatal Rust shooting

Although Azari believes that a jury will find Alec Baldwin innocent, the same cannot be said for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

"The armorer had absolute legal duty. She was criminally negligent for failing that duty. She absolutely, in my opinion, should be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter that's criminal negligence," Azari stated. "But Baldwin no. Baldwin should go to trial, but I don't see 12 jurors unanimously finding him guilty based on these facts."

Earlier in the trial, jurors were shown text messages between Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and a crew member, making it seem that she had been smoking to "get high" the night before the fatal shooting, which took place on October 21, 2021.

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Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's Legal Team Blame Alec Baldwin For Halyna Hutchins' Death

Alec Baldwin sued by family of shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

On October 20, she sent a text message saying, "LOL. I don't need that tonight anyways. I might go smoke in the jacuzzi soon. I'm so pooped." The message did not specify what she was smoking; however, a subsequent text message said that she was headed down to get high out back."

Prosecutors charged Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with tampering with evidence last summer after a witness came forward to claim that she has passed off a bag of cocaine on the day that Halyna Hutchins was killed, thus impeding the police investigation.

Prosecutors have alleged that her drug and alcohol use on evenings after filming had wrapped for the day impaired her judgment and may have made her unable to tell a live round from a dummy round on the day of the fatal shooting.

However, her legal team is blaming Alec Baldwin's reckless handling of the weapon on set for the cinematographer's death. Her main attorney, Jason Bowles, has accused the police of unfairly targeting the armorer after the shooting.

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