NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Alec Baldwin’s attorney told a judge on Thursday that the state destroyed the gun used in the deadly “Rust” movie-set shooting. The announcment was made during a status hearing in the case against “Rust” actor-producer Alec Baldwin and the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. However, the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney released a statement after the hearing stating that the gun was not destroyed.
During the hearing, an attorney for Baldwin, Alex Spiro, said he received an email from the state that the defense would be receiving discovery today. Spiro also brought up the fact that the firearm at the center of this case has been destroyed by the state. “That’s obviously an issue, and we’re going to have to see that firearm – or what’s left of it,” Spiro said.
The New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney released the following statement:
“The gun Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins has not been destroyed by the state. The gun is in evidence and is available for the defense to review.
“The defense’s unexpected statement in the status hearing today that the gun had been destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI’s July 2022 firearms testing report that said damage was done to internal components of the gun during the FBI’s functionality testing. However, the gun still exists and can be used as evidence.”Heather Brewer, spokesperson, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney
Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in October 2021. The actor was rehearsing a scene in front of a camera when a gun he was handling fired, hitting Hutchins and the film’s director Joel Souza. Hutchins died shortly after the shooting while Souza survived his injuries.
In February, prosecutors downgraded certain charges against the two, removing a firearm enhancement penalty from Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed’s involuntary manslaughter charges. The enhancement charge would have added an additional five-year minimum sentence on top of everything else.
Baldwin and Guiterrez-Reed will now only face an involuntary manslaughter charge without a firearm enhancement penalty. If convicted, the fourth-degree felony charge is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin told investigators the gun misfired as he handled the weapon. However, an FBI forensic investigation concluded the gun could not have been fired without pulling the trigger.
Also at Thursday’s hearing, the defense made a request for the prosecution to identify which of the 64 witnesses it intends to call. District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer agreed with the defense and is making the prosecution make an exact witness list of who will testify.
Attorneys are also trying to get special prosecutor Andrea Reeb removed from the case because she is also a state representative. They argue it is unconstitutional for her to be a representative and a prosecutor. That hearing with be heard on March 27. The preliminary hearing examination will begin on March 3 and is expected to take two weeks.