At a mundane status hearing on the manslaughter charges against actor Alec Baldwin and movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Baldwin’s attorney noted to the court that the gun that fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins had been destroyed.
Alex Spiro, Baldwin’s attorney, made the surprise announcement during the virtual hearing, Law and Crime reported.
“I think I should tell the court that the firearm in this this case, that’s a great subject of it, was destroyed by the state,” he said. “So that’s obviously an issue.”
Spiro added that he’d like to see it, “or what’s left of it.”
Carmack-Altwies did not dispute the the claim, and the hearing, mostly concerned with scheduling, continued with no further reference to the destruction of what should be a key piece of evidence.
Hutchins died during a rehearsal for Baldwin’s western, “Rust,” in 2021. A months-long investigation did not determine who loaded live ammunition into the weapon Baldwin was using during the rehearsal, but Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies charged Baldwin and Gutierrrez-Reed with manslaughter. She allowed Assistant Director David Halls, who handed the weapon to Baldwin and told him it was safe to use, to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in exchange for a suspended sentence and six months of probation.
Carmack-Altwies dropped a special weapons enhancement she initially added to the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed, which would have increased their sentences if they’re convicted, after both noted that the law providing for that enhancement was passed after the 2021 shooting. The district attorney, however, claimed that she did so to “avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys.”
Baldwin’s attorneys have also filed to disqualify special prosecutor Andrea Reeb, who led the lengthy investigation that produced a 500+ page report, because she is an elected member of the New Mexico House of Representatives. Under state law, legislators may not ‘exercise any powers properly belonging’ to either the executive or judicial branches of government.
Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer scheduled a hearing for March 27 on that motion.
A preliminary hearing for the trial itself has been scheduled for May.
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[Featured image: FILE – Actor Alec Baldwin in 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)]