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Friday, December 8, 2023

Weapons expert accused in deadly ‘Rust’ shooting faces new gun charge in unrelated case

The weapons expert for “Rust,” who faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in the deadly on-set shooting, also faces a separate gun charge in an unrelated incident weeks before the film’s cinematographer was fatally shot.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who has pleaded not guilty to the “Rust” charge, was indicted Thursday in New Mexico on a charge of unlawfully carrying a firearm in a licensed liquor establishment on Oct. 1, 2021.

An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed called the new charge baseless.

“The special prosecutor has now resorted to charging Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with another offense not tied to the ‘Rust’ set or remotely related to it. Next week it will probably be something else they will dream up,” attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement. “This is now turned into a complete smear campaign against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and an attempt by the prosecutor to get any conviction possible because its ‘Rust’-related charges against Hannah are so weak.”

Gutierrez-Reed was charged in January with involuntary manslaughter, and her trial is set to begin in late February.

On the “Rust” set on Oct. 21, 2021, Alec Baldwin’s prop gun fired a live round of ammunition, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has repeatedly maintained in interviews that he did not pull the trigger.

Special prosecutors initially dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin in April, saying they were informed the gun might have been modified before the shooting and malfunctioned. They later pivoted after they received a new analysis of the gun and will ask a grand jury to consider recharging Baldwin.

Special prosecutors in New Mexico were scheduled to convene the grand jury Thursday, but the judge rescheduled it during a teleconference hearing Wednesday, a source familiar with the case said.

Last month, attorneys for Baldwin said that “it is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy has been turned into this misguided prosecution,” adding, “We will answer any charges in court.”

NBC News this week obtained a series of videos that show Baldwin handling a prop gun while he was filming scenes.

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