New Mexico prosecutors say they will file new charges againstif further testing shows that his gun was working at the time of the “ ” shooting.
The special prosecutors in the case, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis,charges against Baldwin in April.
Baldwin had been accused of negligently pulling the trigger, causing the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. But Baldwin’s lawyers provided analysis that raised doubt that the gun was working properly at the time.
The FBI analyzed the gun last year, and broke it during a test firing. In a recent court filing, Morrissey and Lewis said that the gun has been sent to an independent expert for further testing.
“If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed,” the prosecutors wrote.
A decision is expected within 60 days.
The prosecutors have also said they are making a “herculean effort” to determine who introduced live rounds onto the set of “Rust” — a key unresolved issue in the case.
For now, the only pending charge in the case is against Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the film’s armorer. Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys have sought to throw out the involuntary manslaughter charge, citing a host of missteps by the Santa Fe D.A.’s office.
The charges were initially filed by Santa Fe D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb. The judge on the case later ruled that the two could not co-prosecute the case, under the state’s special prosecutor statute. Carmack-Altwies has since recused herself and appointed the new two special prosecutors.
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, has argued that the case is invalid in part because it was brought by two prosecutors who should not have been working together. In response, the new special prosecutors refiled the case under their own names.
In opposing Bowles’ motion to have the case thrown out, Morrissey and Lewis revealed a few additional details about the case against Gutierrez Reed. She is accused of negligently loading a live round into Baldwin’s gun.
“Witnesses in the current case will testify that Defendant Gutierrez was drinking heavily and smoking marijuana in the evenings during the shooting of ‘Rust,’” the prosecutors wrote. “It is likely that Defendant Gutierrez was hung over when she inserted a live bullet into a gun that she knew was going to be used at some point by an actor while filming a shooting scene with other actors and crew members. The crime of involuntary manslaughter was designed specifically for this type of circumstance.”
The prosecutors also revealed that there is “some evidence” to support the theory that Gutierrez Reed was responsible for introducing the live rounds onto the set, and that it is possible she could be charged for that. Gutierrez Reed has blamed Seth Kenney, the “mentor” who helped her get the job and supplied weapons and ammunition to the production.
The prosecutors also stated that Sarah Zachry, the prop master, “discarded some rounds of ammunition in a panic after the shooting an in an attempt to make the set safer.” They further alleged that Gutierrez Reed unloaded the gun, handed the ammunition to another person, and “walked off with the firearm for a considerable amount of time prior to law enforcement arriving on scene.”
The prosecutors note that neither Zachry nor Gutierrez Reed has been charged with tampering with evidence, but seem to suggest that they could be.
Bowles accused the prosecutors of maligning Gutierrez Reed in an effort to influence potential jurors.
“The case is so weak that they are now resorting to character assassination tactics to further taint the jury pool,” he said in a statement. “This investigation and prosecution has not been about seeking justice; for them it’s been about finding a convenient scapegoat.”
Bowles also said that Gutierrez Reed did not introduce the live rounds to the set, and that the prosecution “has failed to investigate solid leads that we have provided them as to the origin of the live rounds.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for August.