Alec Baldwin’s manslaughter charges in the “Rust” set shooting were dropped in April — for now — but the film’s weapons expert continues to face charges despite her attorneys’ efforts to have the charges dismissed, citing missteps by the Santa Fe D.A.’s office.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is accused of negligently loading a live round into Baldwin’s gun, and in their attempt to prove this theory, special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis are “resorting to character assassination,” according to Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys.
In a June 8 court filing, the prosecutors claim to have evidence supporting their theory, including witnesses who can testify that she was heavily drinking and using marijuana in the evenings during the shooting of “Rust”. Prosecutors also wrote that it is likely that she was hungover when she inserted a live bullet into the gun.
Is this a good strategy for prosecutors? Firm co-founder and personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio shared his expertise with the Associated Press, “When you think about how they’ve conducted this investigation since the beginning, it’s almost in step with what they had done before. They need to have more specificity when it comes to that allegation, because it’s kind of serious. To be throwing it out there doesn’t look that good.”
Although prosecutors say they have witnesses who will testify to Gutierrez-Reed’s alcohol consumption and marijuana usage in the evenings during filming, the weapons expert was never tested. It’s currently unclear what evidence the prosecutors could present to support their claim that Gutierrez-Reed was actually hungover when she loaded a live bullet into the revolver.
In the Washington Post, Miguel noted that this development could work in the defense’s favor, “It’s pretty reasonable for the defense to say ‘you’re just bringing this up now, which continues to show this pattern of sloppiness.’ Prosecutors saying she was ‘probably hungover’ sounds like a very tenuous assumption.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for August, where a judge will assess if there’s enough evidence to proceed with the charges.
Prosecutors also said they expect to decide within the next 60 days whether to recharge Baldwin.