Hannah Gutierrez-Reed accused of being likely hungover on “Rust” set - The World News

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed accused of being likely hungover on “Rust” set

Prosecutors in New Mexico alleged that “Rust” weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was likely hungover when she loaded a live bullet into the revolver that actor Alec Baldwin used when he shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021. Prosecutors leveled the accusation Friday in response to a motion filed last month by Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys that seeks to dismiss her involuntary manslaughter charge like they did with Baldwin’s.

The prosecutors accused Gutierrez-Reed of having a history of reckless conduct and argued that it would be in the public interest for her to “finally be held accountable.”

“Witnesses in the current case will testify that Defendant Gutierrez was drinking heavily and smoking marijuana in the evenings during the shooting of Rust,” prosecutors said in court documents.

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

“The case is so weak that they are now resorting to character assassination tactics to further taint the jury pool,” Bowles said in a statement to CBS News. “This investigation and prosecution has not been about seeking Justice; for them it’s been about finding a convenient scapegoat.”

An aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch that was used for the Western film
An aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch that was used for the Western film “Rust” in Santa Fe, N.M., on Oct. 23, 2021.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

A preliminary hearing for Gutierrez-Reed is scheduled in August. A judge is expected to decide then if there’s probable cause for Gutierrez-Reed’s charge to move forward.

The prosecutors also noted that they expected to decide within the next 60 days whether to recharge Baldwin, depending on the results of an analysis of the gun and its broken sear. The items were sent to the state’s independent expert for further testing.

The involuntary manslaughter charge faced by Baldwin, who also was a producer on the film, was dismissed in April, with prosecutors citing new evidence and the need for more time to investigate.

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

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys had argued in their motion that the prosecution was “tainted by 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 film set accident that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins as an opportunity to advance their personal interests.”

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

New special prosecutors who were appointed after Reeb stepped down disputed those claims in their response, saying “nothing about this prosecution has or will be selective.”

The prosecutors also acknowledged the unanswered question of where the live rounds found on set came from, saying they were trying to find out and that the investigation was ongoing. They also suggested there was evidence to support the theory that Gutierrez-Reed herself may be responsible and if so, more charges may follow.

They offered no specifics in the filing as to what that evidence might be.

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