“Rust” Armorer Seeks New Trial

Defense attorneys also ask for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s release

(Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility)

Attorneys for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed want a March 6 verdict overturned in the on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to an emergency motion filed March 15, which asks for a new trial and Gutierrez-Reed’s release.

After under three hours of deliberation, jurors found the armorer guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death for acting negligently in her role to ensure firearm safety, but not guilty of an additional evidence tampering charge. The First Judicial District Court scheduled a sentencing hearing April 15, which could result in 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

But Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys asked First Judicial District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer to reverse that verdict; release the armorer from jail; and hold a new trial. In their arguments, Jason Bowles and Monnica Barreras cite a March 14 New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in the State of New Mexico v. Taylor case which reversed child abuse convictions on a jury instruction error, saying “the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court on writ would almost certainly have to overturn the result in this case” on the same basis.

“Specifically, the Court criticized the use of and/or in listing various acts the jury could find committed by the defendants. The Court also noted that such drafting of the instructions could confuse the jury and lead to a non unanimous verdict on any particular act,” the document read. “This is precisely the argument that Ms. Gutierrez Reed made in jury instruction arguments before this Court. These arguments were overruled and the State made the same instructional error in this case, using ‘and/or’ acts and allowing the jury to not be unanimous on any one particular act.”

On a related track, attorneys for Rust producer and star Alec Baldwin asked the court March 14 to dismiss his own involuntary manslaughter case in Hutchins’ death. In the filing, attorneys argue special prosecutors violated court orders in the grand jury process that indicted their client for a second time years after the incident, including disclosing information about the proceedings to the press and failing to present most of the “significant exculpatory and favorable witnesses and documents’' provided by Baldwin, the document says, despite orders from the court to do so.

“The state prosecutors have engaged in this misconduct—and publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their impropriety—without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two and a half years,” the motion reads. “Enough is enough.”

If his case is not dismissed, Baldwin’s trial will begin July 10.

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