Alec Baldwin‘s attorney, Alex Spiro, told First Judicial District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer at a Thursday hearing in New Mexico that his legal team, as part of its discovery, wanted to see the gun that killed Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Except there’s one problem — Spiro said the state destroyed the gun, but the state refuted the assertion.
“The court, I don’t think, is aware at this point, but I think I should tell the court that the firearm in this case was destroyed by the state,” Spiro said during the virtual hearing. “So, that’s obviously an issue and we’re going to have to see that firearm, or what’s left of it.”
In a statement to ET, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said the gun in question still exists.
“The gun Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins has not been destroyed by the state. The gun is in evidence and is available for the defense to review,” Carmack-Altwies said. “The defense’s unexpected statement in the status hearing today that the gun had been destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI’s July 2022 firearms testing report that said damage was done to internal components of the gun during the FBI’s functionality testing. However, the gun still exists and can be used as evidence.”
At that same hearing, which also was attended by Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys, Spiro filed a waiver so Baldwin does not have to attend any status conferences moving forward.
Baldwin formally entered a not guilty plea to one count of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the fatal shooting on the set of Rust back in October 2021. Like Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin has maintained time and again that he did not pull the trigger on the weapon he used during rehearsal that would ultimately fire a live bullet, killing Hutchins and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza. Baldwin doubled down during an August interview on Chris Cuomo’s podcast, explaining how it’s possible the weapon fired without someone pulling the trigger.
“You’re familiar with what fanning a gun is? Have you heard of that phrase, fanning the gun?” he asked. “So, if you pull the hammer back, and you don’t lock the hammer; if you pull the hammer back pretty far — in old Western movies you’d see someone fan the hammer of the gun — the hammer didn’t lock; you pulled it back to an extent where it would fire the bullet without you pulling the trigger, without you locking the hammer.”
An FBI forensic report, however, stated that the FBI’s accidental discharge testing determined the gun used in the shooting — a .45 colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver — couldn’t have gone off without the trigger being pulled.
The report, obtained by ET, said that, even with the hammer in the quarter- and half-cock positions, the gun “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger.” And, with the hammer fully cocked, the gun “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.” Furthermore, with the hammer de-cocked on a loaded chamber, the gun was able to detonate a primer “without a pull of the trigger when the hammer was struck directly,” which the report stated as normal for this type of revolver.
Following the forensic report’s findings, one of Baldwin’s attorneys, Luke Nikas, told ET that “the critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident.”
He added, “This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was ‘cold,’ and believed the gun was safe. The FBI report is being misconstrued. 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. The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”
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