'Rust' Armorer Seeks Release, Claims Prosecutors Withheld Evidence

AP Photo/Andres Leighton

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie-in-progress "Rust," is seeking a new trial and asking for an immediate release from prison, claiming that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence during her original trial. The charges against Gutierrez-Reed and actor Alec Baldwin resulted from an October 21, 2021, incident in which Baldwin pointed a prop revolver that contained a live round at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza and fired, killing Hutchins and injuring Souza.

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Baldwin will stand trial in July for involuntary manslaughter in the case. Gutierrez-Reed was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting. In her request for a new trial, Gutierrez-Reed claims that there is evidence in the case that could overturn her conviction.

Gutierrez Reed's lawyer accused the prosecution of withholding "bombshell exculpatory evidence," which would have led to a "fundamentally different trial and likely a different outcome," according to court documents filed June 27 and obtained by Fox News Digital.

The armorer's team claimed the state did not disclose a report that found "unexplained toolmarks on critical surfaces of the trigger and sear" of the Pietta 45 Colt revolver replica used on the Western film set. Gutierrez Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, pointed out that the marks were not "the result of the damage incurred during the FBI’s impact testing." The marks also "do not appear to be original manufacturing marks or use and abuse toolmarks based on [their] irregular orientation," according to the report.

The state "buried this information" and it was "never disclosed" to Gutierrez Reed or her legal team, Bowles wrote.

It's unclear how tool marks on the revolver, which were, according to Gutierrez-Reed's attorney, not from the FBI's impact testing and not from manufacturing, use, or abuse markings, could have any impact on the result.

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Previously on RedState: Alec Baldwin's Motion to Dismiss Denied; Trial Set in Accidental Shooting Case 

New Court Papers Claim Alec Baldwin Was 'Reckless With Firearms' Before Shooting on 'Rust' Set


Presumably, Gutierrez-Reed's attorney will seek to argue that the revolver was altered in a way that renders it unsafe. That seems, from the firearms standpoint if not the legal standpoint, to be a non-starter. While the results of the shooting were tragic, there seems to have been a chain of errors that led up to this:

  1. There were live rounds on the set of a movie in which blanks were being used during filming.
  2. The live rounds and the blanks were evidently not segregated to prevent confusion, which is doubly neglectful since live rounds and blank rounds are visually very different.
  3. The armorer - Gutierrez-Reed - who was responsible for the safe handling of all firearms on the set, handed an untrained actor a revolver without making sure it was loaded only with blanks.
  4. Finally, and this is the big one: Alec Baldwin did not verify the status of the revolver when it was handed to him, he pointed the revolver at two human beings, and he pulled the trigger.

There could not have been alterations to the revolver that could have caused live rounds to be loaded into it. There couldn't have been any alterations to the revolver that caused Alec Baldwin to point it at two people and pull the trigger. The revolver evidently worked as designed; it discharged a projectile with lethal force, precisely as it was designed to do.

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Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, it seems, is being hit with plenty of the blame for a shooting that, ultimately, should and must be laid at the feet of Alec Baldwin. But this tactic doesn't look likely to help her case any.

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