Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 26, 2024

'Rust' Armorer Refused Shield For Baldwin Trial Testimony

Judge has declined to provide use immunity for 'Rust' armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, complicating Alec Baldwin's upcoming trial.

According to USA Today, a New Mexico judge ruled against granting use immunity to armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Gutierrez-Reed had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the “Rust” film set.

Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey argued that Gutierrez-Reed’s testimony is crucial to the prosecution’s case against Alec Baldwin. Morrissey described Gutierrez-Reed as “an incredibly important witness” who can provide vital insight into Baldwin's alleged negligence.

Prosecutors are building a case to demonstrate that Baldwin’s mishandling of a revolver led to Hutchins’ death. The incident has caused widespread scrutiny over safety protocols on film sets.

Judge Denies Use Immunity Request

During a hearing, Morrissey suggested she might still summon Gutierrez-Reed despite the judge’s belief that she would refuse to testify to avoid self-incrimination. Gutierrez-Reed has previously invoked her right to remain silent during pre-trial sessions on firearm safety concerns.

The prosecution’s request for use immunity was intended to protect Gutierrez-Reed from self-incrimination while testifying in Baldwin's trial. This trial set for July aims to hold Baldwin accountable for his alleged role in Hutchins' death.

Jason Bowles, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, underscored her wish to avoid self-incrimination as she appeals a sentence of 18 months in prison and faces another separate weapons charge. The court case continues to test legal boundaries and responsibilities on film sets.

Baldwin Denies Pulling Trigger

In March, Gutierrez-Reed was convicted of criminal negligence for the live round placement that led to Baldwin discharging the weapon. Baldwin has consistently denied that he pulled the trigger on the day of the incident.

Baldwin claimed the revolver fired on its own after he cocked and aimed it at Hutchins. Baldwin's stance and the technical specifics of the firearm have become focal points in the trial.

Prosecutors highlighted a recorded conversation where Gutierrez-Reed expressed a wish to see Baldwin incarcerated. This comment adds further complexity to her potential testimony and perceptions of bias.

Defense Witnesses Expected At Trial

In a related development, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer permitted various defense witnesses to remain on Baldwin's witness list. Baldwin’s legal team had originally requested these witnesses' removal following their pre-trial depositions.

One critical defense witness, Zachariah Sneesby, testified that he saw Baldwin pull the trigger when the revolver discharged. This observation may pose challenges for Baldwin’s defense strategy.

In summary, Gutierrez-Reed's conviction and denied immunity request underscore prosecutors' challenges. Her potential testimony remains uncertain, but Morrissey considers her insights valuable. Baldwin, maintaining his innocence, faces substantial legal scrutiny, with witnesses painting contrasting pictures of the fatal incident.

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About Ashton Snyder

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