Prosecutors are urging a judge in Santa Fe not to throw out charges of involuntary manslaughter against a movie weapons supervisor involved in the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal for the film Rust.
At an online hearing scheduled for Tuesday, defence lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will counter that the charges should be dismissed, after accusing the prosecution of sloppy work and public grandstanding that violates their client’s rights to due process.
The hearing also will address objections to a recently filed charge of evidence tampering against Gutierrez-Reed and whether prosecutors can shield the name of a witness from public disclosure as they pursue that charge.
Prosecutors say a witness is prepared to testify that Gutierrez-Reed handed off a small bag of narcotics to the witness after returning from an interview at a police station. But they said the person worries about being harassed by media and blacklisted by the industry.
Defence lawyer Jason Bowles has called the evidence-tampering charge a vindictive attempt at “character assassination” by prosecutors.
Prosecutors dropped an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin in April, leaving Gutierrez-Reed as the sole remaining defendant in the case.
She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the rehearsal on October 21, 2021, when it went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.
In March of this year, Rust safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest to a charge of unsafe handling of a firearm and received a suspended sentence of six months’ probation.
He agreed to co-operate in the investigation of the fatal shooting and is listed as a possible witness in evidentiary hearings next week to decide whether the case can advance toward trial.