‘Rust’ Armorer Pleads Not Guilty as Judge Sets Trial For Dec. 6

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges in a trial that will begin on Dec. 6 over the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Gutierrez-Reed submitted the plea on Wednesday after she waived her right to an arraignment and preliminary hearing, which would’ve decided if there’s probable cause for the case to go to trial.

The prosecution’s case revolves around the argument that the weapons supervisor acted recklessly when she loaded the gun on the set of the movie before handing it to actor Alec Baldwin, who was holding the firearm when it discharged during a rehearsal. She allegedly didn’t properly check all of the rounds to make sure they were dummies.

The charge of tampering with evidence involves accusations that Gutierrez-Reed, alleged by prosecutors to have been hungover on the day of the shooting, transferred “narcotics to another person with the intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of herself,” according to a court filing. She faces three years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Judge Mary Sommer set the trial to run Dec. 6-15, with jury selection starting the day before opening statements. She declined last week to dismiss the case, rejecting arguments from Gutierrez-Reed that prosecutors tainted the investigation to the point a fair trial is no longer possible, didn’t have the authority to bring charges and that her due process rights were violated.

The prosecution has been marred by setbacks. On top of having to downgrade charges against Baldwin, which were eventually entirely dismissed, former special prosecutor Andrea Reeb was forced to bow out of the case due to a conflict of interest with her elected position in the New Mexico state legislature.

Baldwin, who was also a producer on the western, can still be charged. Prosecutors are still investigating whether the Colt .45 revolver he was holding was modified to fire without a pull of the trigger.

Source From: www.hollywoodreporter.com

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