UPDATE, 4:35 PM: Alec Baldwin’s defense team is wrong that the gun he killed Oxide cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has been destroyed, the Santa Fe district attorney’s office says.
“The gun that Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins has not been destroyed by the state,” Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the New Mexico First Judicial DA, told Deadline today. “The weapon is in plain sight and available for defense review,” she adds.
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Earlier Thursday, Baldwin’s attorney, Alex Spiro, announced at a virtual hearing in the criminal case that the 1880s prop gun containing the live ammunition that Hutchins and Rust’s wounded director, Joel Souza, were ” destroyed by the state. The surprise of a statement went unchallenged and largely unacknowledged by Judge Mary Marlow Sommer, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and others.
Now the DA’s office is trying to clarify, with a little reading of its own.
“The defense’s unexpected statement at today’s state hearing that the gun had been destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI’s July 2022 firearms test report that says it was damaged the internal components of the weapon during the FBI functionality test. ”posted spokesman Brewer. “However, the weapon still exists and can be used as evidence.”
Made public in August of last year, the FBI report not only noted the destruction of the weapon in question at the time, but also refuted Baldwin’s repeated claims that he did not pull the trigger during the rehearsal for the independent western. A preliminary examination, also known as a mini-trial, scheduled for early May could shed more light on the damaged and destroyed gulf between prosecutors and defense.
BEFORE, 15:13: the gun that killed Oxide cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 has been “destroyed,” a lawyer for Alec Baldwin revealed Thursday.
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Treated almost as an aside in a virtual hearing in the criminal case, attorney Alex Spiro told Judge Mary Marlow Sommer that the defense team recently learned that the 1880s prop gun that fatally shot Hutchins was hurt Oxide director Joel Souza on the set of the indie western is basically gone.
“The court, I don’t think you’re aware of this point, but I think you should tell the court that the firearm in this case, that’s a big issue, was destroyed by the state,” said Spiro, the Quinn Emanuel . Urquhart & Sullivan attorney. “So that’s obviously a problem and we’re going to need to see that firearm, or what’s left of it.”
Neither Sommer nor Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies responded to Spiro’s statement about the weapon. With his attorney asserting that the absent Baldwin “wanted his day in court,” the spirited session moved on to set dates for future hearings.
Baldwin’s defense team, the prosecutor’s office, and the attorney for the co-defendant and formerOxide Gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment on Spiro’s statement.
It is not clear if the potentially hyperbolic Spiro was referring to the damage the weapon sustained during the FBI’s testing in the investigation of the tragedy at the Oxide set at Bonanza Creek Ranch. That test resulted in internal parts of the weapon breaking and more, the office said. Released in August 2022, the FBI forensics report also indicated that accidental discharge tests determined that the F.lli Pietta .45 Colt caliber (.45 Long Colt) single-action revolver required pulling the trigger to fire.
Baldwin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a primetime interview shortly after Hutchins’ death on October 21, 2021 and has insisted on other occasions that he did not pull the trigger on the gun.
What is clear is the pivotal role as evidence the weapon could play in the upcoming two-week preliminary examination beginning May 3 in the Land of Enchantment. If the judge agrees that the prosecution has a strong enough case, the matter will proceed to a formal trial later this year.
Following the release of an FBI-assisted investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office last November, Baldwin and Reed were indicted in January by prosecutors on two counts of manslaughter in Hutchins’ murder. .
With no indication of how the live ammunition got to the set of the $7 million budget indie western, those charges initially included an enhancement that came with a mandatory five-year prison term if Baldwin and/or Reed were convicted. Under protest from lawyers for the defendants that the charge was “unconstitutional,” Carmack-Altwies backed down and struck down that enhancement on February 20.
Against that backdrop, the preliminary examination due to begin in early May, which is a mini-trial in all but name, will see prosecutors present the gist of their case, as well as call witnesses from an already published list of 46 people, including law enforcement officials, Oxide crew members, and Souza and first assistant director David Halls, the latter of whom reached a plea deal with the district attorney earlier this year. Also on that list is the husband of Halyna Hutchins, who settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Baldwin and Oxide producers last year and will serve as executive producer on the resurrected production of the indie western
Noting that they had just received an email about their discovery requests, Baldwin’s New York-based team requested confirmation from prosecutors about who would be called as witnesses for the preliminary examination. “So we can make sure that Mr. Baldwin has a fair chance to prepare for this, that the state identifies the actual subset of witnesses that they intend to call,” Spiro said of the “roadmap” he wanted. “That will also allow us to notify and subpoena the necessary witnesses that we need, who are not calling or need to respond to some of these allegations.”
On some rebuttal from Carmack-Altwies, who suffered technical glitches during today’s Google Meets hearing, Sommer agreed, setting an April 17 deadline for prosecutors to provide their true list of witnesses for preliminary examination.
Before that, the participants will meet on March 27 for a hearing on Baldwin’s and Reed’s motions to disqualify special counsel Andrea Reed. The defendants want Reed, the district attorney’s appointee, removed from the case because of her dual role as a newly elected Republican lawmaker from New Mexico. Carmack-Altwies has argued in recent court filings that there is no conflict of interest involving Reed, a former ninth judicial prosecutor.
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