UPDATE, 4:35 p.m.: Alec Baldwin’s defense team is wrong that the gun killed rust Cameraman Halyna Hutchins was destroyed, Santa Fe prosecutors say.
“The gun that Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins was not destroyed by the state,” Heather Brewer, spokesman for the New Mexico First Judicial DA, told Deadline today. “The weapon is in evidence and available for the defense to review,” she adds.
Earlier Thursday, Baldwin attorney Alex Spiro announced in a virtual hearing in the criminal case that the 1880s prop cannon that contained the live ammunition the Hutchins and wounded Rust director Joel Souza had “destroyed by the state.” The shock of a testimony went unchallenged and was basically unacknowledged by Judge Mary Marlow Sommer, prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies and others.
Now the public prosecutor’s office is trying to clarify the matter with its own tea leaf reading.
“The defense’s unexpected statement in today’s status hearing that the weapon was destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI’s July 2022 firearms test report that damage was caused to internal components of the weapon during the FBI’s functional testing.” , spokesman Brewer posited. “However, the weapon still exists and can be used as evidence.”
The FBI report, released last August, not only found that the gun in question had been mutilated at the time, but also disproved Baldwin’s repeated claims that he did not pull the gun’s trigger during rehearsal for the indie western. A preliminary inquest, also known as a minitrial, scheduled for early May could shed more light on the damaged and shattered rift between prosecutors and the defense.
SO FAR, 3:13 PM: The gun that killed rust Camerawoman Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 was “destroyed,” an attorney for Alec Baldwin announced Thursday.
Attorney Alex Spiro, treated almost as a sideline in a virtual criminal hearing, said Judge Mary Marlow Sommer that the defense team recently learned the 1880s prop cannon fatally shot and wounded Hutchins rust Director Joel Souza is basically gone from the set of the indie western.
“I don’t think the court is aware of this point, but I think I should tell the court that the firearm in this case, which is a big issue, was destroyed by the state,” said Spiro, Quinn Emanuel’s attorney Urquhart & Sullivan. “Well, that’s obviously a problem and we need to see that gun, or what’s left of it.”
Neither Sommer nor Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies responded to Spiro’s testimony about the gun. With claims from his attorney that the absent Baldwin “wanted his day in court,” the lively session continued to set dates for future hearings.
Baldwin’s defense team, the DA’s office and the attorney for the co-defendant and ex-rust Armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment on Spiro’s testimony.
It’s unclear if the potentially hyperbolic Spiro referred to damage the weapon sustained during FBI testing investigating the tragedy rust plays at Bonanza Creek Ranch. Those tests resulted in the gun’s internal parts cracking and more, the bureau said. The FBI forensic report released in August 2022 also said that accidental discharge tests revealed that the .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver required a trigger to fire.
Baldwin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a primetime interview shortly after Hutchins’ death on Oct. 21, 2021, and has insisted on other occasions that he did not pull the gun’s trigger.
What is clear is the crucial role as evidence the weapon could play in the upcoming two-week pre-trial, due to begin May 3 in the Land of Enchantment. Meanwhile, if the judge agrees that prosecutors have a strong enough case, the matter will move to a formal trial later this year.
Following the release of an FBI-backed investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office last November, Baldwin and Reed were formally charged by prosecutors in January on two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the Hutchins murder.
With there still being no indication of how live ammunition got to the set of the $7 million indie western, those charges initially included an amends that carried a mandatory five-year prison sentence if Baldwin and/or Reed were found guilty. Amid protests by the defendants’ attorneys that the charges were “unconstitutional,” Carmack-Altwies backed down and dropped that amendment on February 20.
In this regard, at the preliminary investigation, which is only a mini-trial, beginning in early May, prosecutors will lay out the substance of their case and call witnesses from a previously published list of 46 people, including law enforcement officials. rust Crew members, as well as Souza and first assistant director David Halls, the latter of whom reached an agreement with prosecutors earlier this year. Also on that list is Halyna Hutchins’ husband, who settled a wrongful death with Baldwin rust producers last year and is set to serve as executive producer on the resurrected production of the indie western
Noting that they had just received an email regarding their investigative requests, Baldwin’s NYC-based team asked prosecutors to confirm who would actually be called as a witness for the preliminary investigation. “That way we can ensure Mr. Baldwin has a fair opportunity to prepare for the state to identify the actual subset of witnesses he wants to subpoena,” Spiro said of the “roadmap” he wanted. “That will also allow us to notify and subpoena the necessary witnesses that we need that they not call or that we need to answer some of these allegations.”
After some rebuttals from Carmack-Altwies, who suffered from technical glitches during today’s Google Meets hearing, Sommer agreed, giving prosecutors until April 17 to provide their true witness list for the preliminary investigation.
Before that, on March 27, attendees will meet for a hearing on Baldwin and Reed’s motions to disqualify special prosecutor Andrea Reed. The defendants want the prosecutor-appointed Reed removed from the case because of her dual role as a recently elected GOP New Mexico MP. Carmack-Altwies has argued in recent court filings that there is no conflict of interest regarding Reed, a former ninth court attorney