Judge Nears Decision on Whether Alec Baldwin Will Face the Armorer Who Loaded His Gun and Wants Him ‘in Jail’

Attorneys for the actor are trying to block testimony from Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was convicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter in March.

Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office
In this 2022 image from video released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, Alec Baldwin stands in costume and speaks with investigators following a fatal shooting on a movie set at Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office

A New Mexico judge is set to decide today whether “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin will face in court “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was convicted on charges stemming from the same shooting.

In late October of 2021, prosecutors say Mr. Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust,” a western starring Mr. Baldwin.

In response, the Santa Fe district attorney’s office filed charges against multiple people in connection with the shooting including Mr. Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed in 2023, though the initial charges against Mr. Baldwin were dropped after Mr. Baldwin’s attorneys successfully argued that the prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, could not manage the case because she was serving in the state House.

In January of 2024, however, Mr. Baldwin was once again charged with involuntary manslaughter, which he pleaded not guilty to. In late May, Judge Mary Marlowe, who is overseeing the case, rejected arguments to dismiss the case, sending it to trial.

As Mr. Baldwin’s legal saga unfolded, Gutierrez-Reed was convicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter in March after just three hours of jury deliberations. She was also found not guilty on a charge of tampering with evidence.

Judge Marlowe, who also oversaw the prosecution of Gutierrez-Reed, gave her the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter in New Mexico, 18 months.

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” Judge Marlowe said. “But for you, Ms. Hutchins would be alive. A husband would have his partner, and a little boy would have his mother.”

The conviction of Gutierrez-Reed has since hung over the case against Mr. Baldwin, with the lead prosecutor on the case disclosing in an April filing that Gutierrez-Reed had said on a phone call from prison that she wants to see Mr. Baldwin “in jail,” according to a summary of the call.

A former Brooklyn homicide prosecutor, Julie Rendelman, tells the Sun that she “can’t fathom a scenario where the armorer would testify” without immunity, though being granted immunity introduces its own set of issues.

Gutierrez-Reed has said that she would not testify in the case against Mr. Baldwin unless she is granted immunity, as she is attempting to avoid self-incrimination as she appeals her case.

Attorneys for Mr. Baldwin have moved to block Gutierrez-Reed from testifying saying in a filing that the “late addition of Gutierrez-Reed to the State’s witness list to provide open-ended, unspecified testimony at this late date is unjustified and prejudicial.”

Ms. Rendelman maintains that, even if Gutierrez-Reed is granted immunity, there would be questions about her credibility as a witness because “he’s a convicted felon on the facts of this case” and she could potentially benefit from testifying.

“It is unusual because you’re basically granting a convicted felon a benefit because potentially her testimony would not be used against her if she was successful in her appellate claim,” Mr. Rendelman says. “That would be something that the defense could use in cross examining her to raise questions about her credibility”

Ms. Rendelman also noted that Gutierrez-Reed’s public desire to see Mr. Baldwin prosecuted for the shooting could also work against her.

“One could argue that the reason she wants him in jail is because she thinks he’s also responsible for what happened to the victim,” Ms. Rendelman says.

She went on to note that potential testimony from Gutierrez-Reed would be akin to recent testimony by Trump’s former fixer, Cohen, against Trump, in the sense that they were both convicted based on facts central to a case they are now potentially testifying in.

“My opinion is that the case against her was stronger than any case against Baldwin,” Ms. Rendelman says.

The president elect of the New York County Lawyers Association, Richard Swanson, agrees, telling the Sun that Gutierrez-Reed’s testimony may be “suspect” adding that “ you just don’t use live rounds on a movie set.” He also noted that her conviction does not help her credibility.

“And it doesn’t make sense for Baldwin to have pointed a gun thinking that there was any possibility that there was a live round in a gun,” Mr. Swanson says.

Gutierrez-Reed, as the armorer could testify to the condition of the gun that day, a detail central to the case. Mr. Baldwin maintains that he never pulled the trigger of the gun, saying that he pulled the gun’s hammer back without fully cocking the gun and that the weapon fired when he released the hammer.

Earlier in June, Mr. Baldwin’s lawyer argued that the defense “now has no ability to examine or test the gun in its original state to disprove the government’s theory that he pulled the trigger on the day of the accident,” saying the FBI destroyed the weapon during its forensic testing.

The FBI analysis found, however, that the gun could not have been fired without the trigger being pulled, a finding disputed by Mr. Baldwin’s attorneys.

“The gun fired in testing only one time — without having to pull the trigger — when the hammer was pulled back and the gun broke in two different places,” Mr. Baldwin’s attorney said in a statement responding to the report. “The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”

Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers have separately argued that both Mr. Baldwin and Hutchins were told that the actor was handling a “cold gun,” meaning a gun without live ammunition, “by the person in charge of safety on the set,” an apparent reference to Gutierrez-Reed.

The attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, Jason Bowles, has previously characterized statements like this as attempts to use Gutierrez-Reed as a scapegoat. Gutierrez-Reed was, however, not the crew member who handed Mr. Baldwin the gun nor the person who reportedly “cold gun” shortly before the shooting.


Correction: The Santa Fe district attorney’s office filed charges in connection with the shooting on the set of “Rust.” An earlier version misspelled the name of the office.

The New York Sun

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