Judge will not dismiss criminal case against Rust armorer

Two years after the death of Halyna Hutchins, the criminal case against the woman who loaded the gun moves forward

Judge will not dismiss criminal case against Rust armorer
Rust signs Photo: Sam Wasson

The criminal case against the armorer for the indie film Rust is moving forward. Earlier today, New Mexico Judge Mary Sommer declined to dismiss the case against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the weapons supervisor on set. Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys argue she can’t receive a fair trial due to some of the “rumors” spread about the defendant. The judge disagreed.

In October 2021, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed when a firearm held by Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged during on-set rehearsals for the film. The case, which had gone through numerous iterations, including a period when Baldwin faced potential jail time for the shooting, continues with a weeklong hearing beginning on August 9, per The Hollywood Reporter.

In recent months, the prosecution has stepped up attacks against Gutierrez-Reed, attempting to portray her as reckless and irresponsible. The original special prosecutor in the case, Andrea Reeb, stepped down in March due to conflicts of interest, but not before being accused of “spreading rumors” about the defendant.

Gutierrez-Reed faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, referring to an accusation that she attempted to hide narcotics after the shooting, says court documents. Prosecutors also allege that the armorer was drinking on set and was hungover the morning of the shooting. Lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed claim these are unsubstantiated and that they don’t know how one could prove that someone was hungover two years ago.

In a statement to IndieWire in June, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles accused prosecutors of mishandling the case and said that “the case is so weak that they are now resorting to character assassination to further taint the jury pool.”

However, the judge argued that because the preliminary hearing won’t have jurors, there’s no concern of an unfair trial.

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