By the time “Rust” comes to theaters, the only thing people will remember is the tragedy and controversy. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on October 21st, 2022. Charges against actor Alec Baldwin for the discharge of the gun that killed Hutchins have been dropped after a settlement. (Assistant Director David Halls was convicted on one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon.) Blame was then shifted to the armorer on set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Charged with involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, Gutierrez-Reed has pled not guilty.
Gutierrez-Reed’s plea was submitted August 9th. She waived her right to an arraignment and preliminary hearing, which would have ascertained whether there was probable cause to bring the case to trial. But it’s relatively unlikely her plea will be accepted. The case against Reed is for extreme negligence, and trying to deflect blame from herself. It’s alleged Reed didn’t properly check for bullets in the firearm (“clearing” or “cold”) held by Baldwin, to ensure no live ammunition was in use.
Unfortunately in this case, there were indeed live rounds in the weapon, which were discharged, leading to the death of Hutchins and injury of director Joel Souza. There have been numerous reports of a troubled production aside from this unfortunate occurrence.
Even Accidents Require Accountability
Reed has also been accused of being hungover on set. As well as giving “narcotics to another person with the intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of herself,” according to the court file. So not only was Reed impaired on set, but actively tried to find a way to escape blame. Reed attempted to have the case thrown out on the grounds that the prosecution irreparably tainted the investigation, that her due process rights were violated, and that they didn’t possess the authority to bring charges against her. Judge Mary Sommer declined to dismiss.
Should Reed be found guilty, she will serve a three year incarceration. Baldwin could also still be charged. Prosecutors are investigating additional “firearms enhancement” charges; whether the firearm had been modified to fire without a trigger. Such a charge carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
We’ll let you know what we hear about this and other news.