Weapons expert in Alec Baldwin case was hungover on set, prosecutors say

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – The weapons supervisor on the set where Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer drank and smoked marijuana in the evenings while filming “Rust,” prosecutors say, saying that she was probably hungover when she loaded a live bullet into the gun the actor used.

They brought the charges Friday in response to a motion filed last month by Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys seeking to dismiss her manslaughter charge. Prosecutors accused her of having a history of reckless driving and argued that it would be in the public interest for her to “finally be held accountable”.

Jason Bowles, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, said Tuesday that the prosecution mishandled the case.

“The case is so weak that they have now elected to pursue libel charges against Hannah,” Bowles told The Associated Press. “The prosecution has abandoned the idea of ​​doing justice and apparently getting to the truth.”

A preliminary hearing for Gutierrez-Reed is scheduled for August. A judge would then have to decide if there is probable cause for Gutierrez-Reed’s charge to go forward.

In the response, prosecutors also noted that they expected to decide within the next 60 days whether to reload Baldwin, based on the results of an analysis of the weapon and its broken trigger. The items were sent to the state’s independent expert for further testing.

The manslaughter charge facing Baldwin, who was also the film’s producer, was dismissed in April, with prosecutors citing new evidence and the need for more time to investigate.

Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal on the New Mexico film set in October 2021 when it went off, killing her and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza.

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys had argued in their motion that the prosecution was “tainted with improper political motives” and that Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and the initial special prosecutor she appointed, Andrea Reeb, “both used the tragic filming accident that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins as an opportunity to advance their personal interests.

Defense attorneys argue that the permanent damage done to the weapon by the FBI’s testing before the defense could examine it amounted to the destruction of evidence and a violation of the court’s discovery rules. They also argued that the “selective prosecution” of Gutierrez-Reed was a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

New special prosecutors who were appointed after Reeb’s resignation disputed those allegations in their response, saying “nothing about this prosecution is or will be selective.”

Prosecutors also acknowledged the unanswered question of the origin of the live ammunition found on set, saying they were trying to find out and the investigation was ongoing. They also suggested there was evidence to support the theory that Gutierrez-Reed herself might be responsible and, if so, further charges might follow.

They did not provide any details in the filing as to what that evidence might be.

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