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Alec Baldwin ‘nervous’ for ‘Rust’ trial after armorer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter: expert

alec-baldwin-‘nervous’-for-‘rust’-trial-after-armorer-found-guilty-of-involuntary-manslaughter:-expert
Alec Baldwin ‘nervous’ for ‘Rust’ trial after armorer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter: expert

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Alec Baldwin is due in court this summer to face his own involuntary manslaughter charge in the 2021 fatal shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter by a New Mexico jury who determined the 26-year-old “Rust” armorer was responsible for the gun that discharged a live bullet on the Western film set. Hutchins was in the line of fire when Baldwin pulled the gun out of his holster on Oct. 21, 2021.

The decision in Gutierrez-Reed’s case may hint at what’s to come for Baldwin, who has been charged twice in Hutchins’ death. Baldwin was originally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 31, 2023, but the charges were later dropped in April 2023. 

“With this guilty verdict, Alec Baldwin is probably getting nervous,” Miguel Custodio, co-founder of Custodio and Dubey LLP, told Fox News Digital. “He can see that the consequences of what happened are becoming real.”

ALEC BALDWIN’S ‘RUST’ ARMORER CONVICTED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

Rust cast and crew Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez Reed

Alec Baldwin and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were both charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. (New Mexico Courts/ Santa Fe Sheriffs)

Custodio added, “It remains to be seen whether a jury in his case would be encouraged to hand out another guilty verdict given that someone from that set is already facing a potential jail sentence.”

After Gutierrez-Reed’s verdict was read, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ordered the armorer be taken into custody, where she will remain until she is sentenced. She faces up to 18 months in prison in addition to a $5,000 fine.

ALEC BALDWIN’S ‘PRIMA DONNA’ BEHAVIOR ON ‘RUST’ SET NOT TO BLAME FOR ARMORER’S SAFETY FAILURES: PROSECUTION

The armorer’s trial, which began Feb. 21, saw testimony from weapons experts, FBI and Santa Fe County authorities and crew members who witnessed the fatal shooting. The prosecution largely focused on Gutierrez-Reed’s behavior as an armorer, saying she didn’t do her job correctly.

Alec Baldwin sits in Rust church

Alec Baldwin is shown sitting in the church where Hutchins was killed in outtakes from the “Rust” production. (CourtTV)

“Interestingly, it was Gutierrez-Reed who presented the most evidence as to Baldwin’s culpability,” Kate Mangels, partner at Kinsella Holley Iser Kump Steinsapir LLP, told Fox News Digital. “Her attorneys presented Baldwin as failing in his role as part of the ‘Rust’ production team and as an actor.”

“This strategy could be used by the prosecution in Baldwin’s case to increase the chances that a jury finds him culpable in one of those roles. The prosecution’s case against Baldwin will depend largely on whether the crew witnesses who testified against Gutierrez-Reed testify similarly against Baldwin.”

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Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Fox News Digital that Baldwin has “a couple things to be concerned about” heading into his own trial.

Alec Baldwin appears on video rehearsing with an Old West-style revolver

Alec Baldwin appears on video rehearsing with a revolver before the fatal “Rust” shooting. (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office)

“I think Baldwin has to point the finger at Hannah … and I think Dave Halls a bit as well because he did say during his previous statements to law enforcement that Halls told them it was a cold gun,” Rahmani said.

“The FBI report … the ballistics report says he pulled the trigger. I think that’s something he’s going to have to deal with.” 

Baldwin has maintained in multiple interviews that he did not pull the trigger of the gun. The actor, 65, described the moment the gun was discharged during a TV appearance in December 2021, months after the fatal shooting.

WATCH: ALEC BALDWIN’S FIRST WORDS TO DETECTIVES REVEALED AS POLICE RELEASE TROVE OF ‘RUST’ FILES

“I let go of the hammer of the gun,” Baldwin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And the gun goes off.”

Lucien Haag and Mike Haag, who were commissioned by the prosecution in Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s case, concluded that Baldwin had to pull the trigger of the gun in order for it to fire.

CONVICTED ‘RUST’ ASSISTANT DIRECTOR TESTIFIES ABOUT TENSE FINAL MOMENTS BEFORE FATAL SET SHOOTING

“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” reads the report obtained by Fox News Digital. “This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger.”

Hannah Gutierrez Reed sits in court

Gutierrez-Reed’s trial began with jury selection on Feb. 21. (New Mexico Courts)

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Emmy-nominated executive producer Paul Epstein questioned overlooked safety protocols on the “Rust” set.

“Why was his finger on the trigger, and why was he pointing a weapon at anyone on set? Both actions violate fundamental firearm safety protocols and underscore the murky delegation of responsibility for safety that, to me, is the real heart of this tragedy,” Epstein told Fox News Digital.

David Halls, the assistant director, testified he felt negligent for not checking the weapon thoroughly. But as a former AD and current producer myself, I know all too well the AD’s ability to enforce safety on set is limited by the tolerance of the director and producers.”

Dave Halls testifies at trial

Dave Halls testified about the tense final moments before the fatal shooting. (New Mexico Courts)

He added, “And in the case of this film, both the investigation and statements from the crew make clear that speed and urgency were prioritized – by the film’s producers, which include Baldwin himself – over careful risk management.”

Halls allegedly handed Baldwin a .45 revolver, telling him that it was “cold” or safe. Prior to that, Gutierrez-Reed spun the cylinder to show Halls what was in the gun, her lawyer said.

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Halls signed a plea agreement for a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The terms of his agreement included a suspended sentence and six months of probation, the district attorney announced.

If Baldwin is convicted, he could face up to 18 months in prison.

Representatives for Baldwin did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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