Rust trial – live: Armourer claims she was ‘scapegoated’ in Alec Baldwin shooting as jurors deliberate

The defence for “Rust” movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed claimed she was a scapegoat in the fatal 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

A jury is now deliberating whether Gutierrez-Reed should be convicted of involuntary manslaughter charges in the shooting.

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin is also facing involuntary manslaughter charges related to the shooting. His trial will begin on 9 July.

The outcome of trial may hinge on testimony about the source of six live rounds discovered on the “Rust” set — including the one from Mr Baldwin’s gun. Live ammunition is expressly prohibited on movie sets by the industry and union guidelines.

Prosecutors say Gutierrez-Reed is to blame for unwittingly bringing live ammunition on set and that she flouted basic safety protocols for weapons handling. She has pleaded not guilty.

Defence attorneys say their client is being smeared and unfairly scapegoated for problems beyond her control, including Mr Baldwin’s handling of the weapons.

Gutierrez-Reed is also facing an evidence tampering charge for allegedly asking a friend to hide cocaine for her while police were investigating the shooting.

She faces up to three years in prison if she is convicted.

Key Points

  • ‘Rust’ armourer trial closing arguments today

  • Witness shocks court by pointing unloaded gun at judge

  • Trial of ‘Rust’ armourer nears end

  • When is Alec Baldwin’s trial?

Jury begins deliberations in ‘Rust’ trial

20:21 , Andrea Cavallier

Closing arguments wrapped on Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

The jury was sent out of the courtroom at 1.20pmMT/3.20pmET to begin deliberations.

She is facing involuntary manslaughter charges in the fatal 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

State wraps closing arguments and calls for a guilty verdict and justice for Halyna Hutchins

20:18 , Andrea Cavallier

“This is 100% foreseeable. Ms Gutierrez  is not a scapegoat, she is not being treated as a scapegoat. Mr Halls was charged criminally, Mr. Baldwin has been indicted. She is not being scapegoated, she is being treated like everyone else. She is not being given a break because she is a woman or because she is young because that’s not how the law works.”

Morrissey then goes over the jury instructions in an attempt to clarify reasonable doubt.

“When you are back there talking about doubt, make sure it’s a reasonable one under these set of circumstances.”

She then asks the jury for a guilty verdict and asks them to bring justice to Halyna Hutchins. Jury will now begin deliberations.

State’s final argument to the jury

20:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Morrissey has another chance to speak to the jury.

She tells the court that she knows Gutierrez-Reed didn’t know there was a live round on set.

“If she knew, she wouldn’t be charged with involuntary manslaughter, she’d be charged with second-degree murder,” she said.

Morrissey then adds that Gutierrez-Reed didn’t know there were live rounds on set because of her own negligence, recklessness, and willful disregard for the safety of other people.

“It is shocking for Mr. Bowles to come up to this podium and say it wasn’t foreseeable that Alec Baldwin would go off…”

“It is her job to say to an A-list actor, ‘hey, you can’t behave that way with those firearms.’ That is her job. That is what they pay her for. That is the job that she applied for. That is the job that she accepted.”

“This is 100 percent foreseeable.”

Defence wraps closing arguments

19:56 , Andrea Cavallier

Bowles ended his closing arguments saying that “Justice for Halyna does not mean injustice for Hannah.”

He made a few last points arguing that Gutierrez-Reed could not anticipate what Baldwin would do when he went off script and that management was responsible for safety failures.

He said Gutierrez-Reed is a scapegoat for all the failures.

“Justice for Halyna does not mean injustice for Hannah. It does not mean they get to steamroll her and get to spin their version of facts and call it truth. Because that’s not true.”

Defence plays video of Alec Baldwin firing blank after ‘cut’ was yelled

19:26 , Andrea Cavallier

Bowles played a clip from a video of a scene that shows Alec Baldwin firing a blank after “cut” was yelled.

He pointed out that Mr Baldwin “went off script” and chose to fire after “cut” was yelled.

“And he did it again,” he said, adding that it was not in the script to point the weapon.

Defence calls Hannah Gutierrez-Reed the ‘convenient fall person’

19:19 , Andrea Cavallier

Bowles said  Gutierrez-Reed was ganged up on and became the “convenient fall person” in the shooting.

“That’s what happened in this case,” he said. “You had a production company on a shoestring budget, an A-list actor (Baldwin) calling all the shots. In the end, they had someone they could all blame.”

He also pointed out that OSHA made an official determination that this was a production and management issue.

“The buck stops with production.”

Defence says state has not ruled out reasonable doubt

19:08 , Andrea Cavallier

Defence attorney Jason Bowles said it’s extremely important that the government rule out every reasonable doubt.

He said Sarah Zachary threw away rounds after the shooting – and argued that is reasonable doubt to the accuracy of the state’s argument.

Defence is now giving closing arguments

19:03 , Andrea Cavallier

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s defence attorney is now giving his closing arguments.

“This is her day in court,” Bowles says.

Court takes 15-minute recess

18:41 , Andrea Cavallier

The state has wrapped the first portion of closing arguments.

The defence is next. But first the court is taking a 15-minute recess.

After the defence has their turn, the state said they will be asking for justice for Halyna Hutchins.

State describes Hutchins’ lethal injuries and says Gutierrez was only worried about her career

18:38 , Andrea Cavallier

“That bullet went into her body, went through her rib, severed her spinal cord, punctured her lung, came out the back of her shoulder and a few hours later, Ms Gutierrez is... worried about her career,” she said referring to Gutierrez’s comments she made hours after the shooting.

The 60,000 question: Who brought the live rounds on set?

18:33 , Andrea Cavallier

“I’m not telling you Hannah intended to bring live rounds on set,” she said. “She was careless, thoughtless,” she added, naming some of the witnesses who said they never saw her shake the dummy rounds to test them.

“She didn’t shake those dummy rounds,” she said. “For all we know those rounds came from the Old Way (another movie set).

“Nicholas Cage is lucky to have walked away with his life.”

Alec Baldwin will have to answer for his conduct – but not today

18:29 , Andrea Cavallier

Morrissey comments on the defence placing the blame on others, including actor Alec Baldwin, who they accused of acting like a prima donna on set.

“This is Hollywood for heaven’s sake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying his conduct was right. I am the person who indicted him,” she said.

“Baldwin’s conduct in that church, on that day is something he will have to answer for - not with you, not today.”

“That will be with another jury on another day,” she added.

Morrissey says Gutierrez-Reed had ‘every opportunity’ to check box of dummies

18:22 , Andrea Cavallier

Morrissey said it was understood that an armorer should not be expected to take on the duties of both an armorer and a prop master.

And that several witnesses testified that this wasn’t a good idea.

“But this was simply not the case,” she said, referring to the day of the fatal shooting.

“She had three hours in the morning waiting for the camera crew,” she added.

“She had every opportunity to go through that box of dummies. How long does it take to shake each and every one of them - 10 minutes max? That’s not hard.”

Jury shown photos to help identify live rounds

18:02 , Andrea Cavallier

Morrissey displays a photo that shows Hannah Gutierrez-Reed holding a box of rounds.

“You are looking at live rounds,” she said.

She told jurors that any time the jury sees photos of ammunition with a silver primer, that is evidence of a live round.

The silver silver dummies didn’t arrive on set for another two days.

“I can't be responsible for every f****** stunt guy”

17:53 , Andrea Cavallier

Morrissey shows a transcript of one of Gutierrez-Reed’s interviews.

“I can’t be responsible for every dickhead, f****** stunt guy that gets a hold of the gun and doesn’t understand it’s hot.”

Morrissey tells the the court that is exactly what her job responsibility is.

‘We hear her, we see her – she says nothing’

17:49 , Andrea Cavallier

Morrisey says Hannah Gutierrez-Reed failed to maintain proper safety on set.

She shows a series of photos with a stuntman holding a gun and pointing it at different people on set, including a child, and a camera. There is also a picture of Gutierrez-Reed holding a gun that is pointing at her face.

“We hear her, we see her,” Morrisey says about her being on set. “She says nothing.”

State begins closing arguments

17:43 , Andrea Cavallier

Kari Morrisey giving the closing for the state.

She shows a photo of Halyna Hutchins to the court.

“We end exactly as we began, in the pursuit of justice for Halyna Hutchins,” she says.

Defence rests in Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's trial

17:28 , Andrea Cavallier

The defence rests in the Hannah Gutierrez-Reed trial following one last witness this morning.

The judge is now reading jury instructions to the jurors.

Closing arguments by both sides will follow before the jury is sent out to deliberate – which could be as early as this afternoon.

Prosecution cross-examines witness

17:25 , Andrea Cavallier

Prosecution is cross examining Pesce, who clarifies that anyone can call cut on set, including Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

It was mentioned that Gutierrez-Reed was not inside the church at the time of the shooting. She was out performing other armorer duties.

On redirect from defence, Pesce says that if there is a firearm on set, the armorer should also be on set. He is excused and the defence rests.

Pesce says there’s a hotline, but reporting an unsafe set could put career in jeopardy

17:22 , Andrea Cavallier

Pesce testified that there is a hotline crew members can call if they feel a set isn’t safe. But it’s something people often do.

“If you report something, you could put your career in jeopardy, and no one wants to do that,” he said.

Pesce says he never worked a film where an armorer had to split duties

17:15 , Andrea Cavallier

Pesce told the court on Wednesday that he has never worked a film where an armorer had to split duties as a prop master.

In order to maintain a safe set, he said it’s not only advisable but recommended to have daily safety meetings.

He also testified that weapons need to be tracked consistently.

What to expect next in ‘Rust’ trial

17:14 , Andrea Cavallier

The judge discussed with the court what to expect next in today’s proceedings.

  • Defence will present its last witness

  • Closing arguments

  • Judge will read jury instructions

  • Alternates will be pulled aside and thanked for their tim

Defence team’s last witness takes the stand

17:10 , Andrea Cavallier

P.J. Pesce is the last witness to take the stand for the defence.

Mr Pesce, who is a writer and director is telling the jury about the movies he’s worked on, specifically movie sets where firearms were used.

WATCH LIVE: Hannah Gutierez-Reed ‘Rust’ trial is underway

17:05 , Andrea Cavallier

Watch live: Rust armourer’s involuntary manslaughter trial hears closing arguments

Trial of ‘Rust’ armourer Hannah Gutierez-Reed resumes

17:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Proceedings will shortly begin in the high-profile trial of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armourer on the set of the film “Rust”, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

There was a lengthy delay this morning as both sides argued over closing arguments and jury instructions.

The State had concern over the defence team’s closing argument language they plan to use about the improper intubation of Halyna Hutchins, NBC’s Dana Griffin reported from the courtroom.

This portion of the trial was not being live streamed.

The State wanted to prevent the jury from hearing that improper intubation could have been a cause of her death. A doctor testified that the cause of death was the gunshot.

There was also an issue over the jury instructions.

The State wanted to mention that jurors have to be unanimous on the involuntary manslaughter charge but not unanimous on the three alternative theories.

The defence objected and say the jurors have to be unanimous on the theory.

The judge ruled that the jury instructions as they stand are sufficiently correct.

“We do not need anonymity on the theory.”

Court is taking a break before the jury is brought in.

The defence team is expected to rest this morning followed by closing arguments.

The jury could have the case as soon as this afternoon.

When is Alec Baldwin’s trial?

16:30 , Andrea Cavallier

The trial of Alec Baldwin, who is facing manslaughter charges in the shooting death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, will begin on 9 July with jury selection.

Opening statements by special prosecutors and the actor’s defense attorneys will take place the following day, and proceedings are expected to last eight days.

Baldwin, the lead actor and a co-producer on the film, pleaded not guilty in January, the day before he was scheduled to be arraigned.

A grand jury had indicted him after prosecutors received a new analysis of the revolver he was using during filming, renewing a charge that prosecutors originally filed and then dismissed in April 2023.

 (Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office)
(Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office)

Trial of ‘Rust’ armourer nears end – what we know so far

16:15 , Andrea Cavallier

The trial of the armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed who gave Alec Baldwin a gun on the set of the doomed movie Rust that led to the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is nearing an end.

Here’s what we know so far:

Woman who gave Alec Baldwin a gun on ‘Rust’ set heads to trial. What we know so far

Defence witness shocks court by pointing unloaded gun at judge

16:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Firearms expert Frank Louis Blair Koucky III – who was testifying for the defence on Tuesday –  shocked the court when he pointed an unloaded revolver in the judge’s direction to demonstrate it was unloaded.

Seconds earlier, as he began displaying a firearm he’d brought for demonstration purposes, the judge informed him to make sure the weapons were unloaded.

“Everybody’s nervous because you have not demonstrated to us they are unloaded,” District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said.

“So before you start showing us the weapons, make sure they’re unloaded, including that one you just touched.”

He then pointed the gun in the direction of the judge, drawing gasps from the courtroom.


Watch live: Rust armourer’s involuntary manslaughter trial hears closing arguments

15:42 , Andrea Cavallier

Watch live as closing arguments are expected in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Alec Baldwin’s Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on Wednesday, 6 March.

Ms Gutierrez-Reed faces involuntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins.

Watch live: Rust armourer’s involuntary manslaughter trial hears closing arguments

Ammunition supplier testified Monday that he only provided inert dummy rounds to Rust film crew

15:25 , Andrea Cavallier

Albuquerque-based movie firearms and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney testified at trial Monday that he only provided inert dummy rounds to the Rust film crew, though he also was handling live rounds from another production at that time.

Mr Kenney told a jury he cleaned and repackaged ammunition to “Rust” that was previously supplied to a production in Texas, handing off a box of 50 inert dummy rounds containing no gunpower to the “Rust” props supervisor on 12 October 2021.

He said also said he scrubbed the exterior of the rounds and cleaned out residue inside in each of them to ensure the telltale rattle of a metal pellet inside dummy rounds could be heard for safety purposes.

The outcome of trial may hinge on testimony about the source of six live rounds discovered on set — including the one from Mr Baldwin’s gun. Live ammunition is expressly prohibited on movie sets by the industry and union guidelines.

‘Rust' armourer trial closing arguments expected today

15:07 , Andrea Cavallier

Closing arguments in the trial of “Rust” armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are expected today.

Gutierrez-Reed is facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of witness tampering connected to the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021.

Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to all three counts. She could face up to three years in prison if convicted.