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‘Rust’ Crew Worried About Armorer’s Conduct Amidst Trial Preparations

As the trial related to the deadly on-set shooting during the production of the film ‘Rust’ approaches, prosecutors reveal that several crew members expressed concerns about armorer Hannah Gutierrez’s alleged drug and alcohol use.

Gutierrez faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set.

Allegations of Drug and Alcohol Use

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Prosecutors have responded to the defense’s motion to sever the tampering with evidence charge and exclude any mention of alleged drug use, possession, or intoxication from the trial by presenting evidence of Gutierrez’s alleged substance abuse during filming.

Text Message Exchange

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In an attempt to demonstrate a history of reckless conduct, prosecutors shared a text exchange from October 25, 2021, between prop master Sarah Zachry and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney. Zachry reported that Gutierrez had allegedly blacked out over the weekend and may have unknowingly brought live ammunition onto the set due to intoxication.

Witness Testimonies

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Witnesses reported seeing Gutierrez under the influence of marijuana in her hotel room in Santa Fe while being in possession of ammunition for use on the movie set.

Alleged Cocaine Handover

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Prosecutors allege that Gutierrez handed a bag, believed to contain cocaine, to another crew member following her interview at the police station on October 21, 2021.

Defense’s Response

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In response to these allegations, Gutierrez’s attorney, Jason Bowles, asserts that the state lacks the authority to prosecute her on the tampering with evidence charge.

He argues that the substance in the bag was never tested, and there is no evidence of Gutierrez using it on or off the set.

Violation of Rights

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Bowles claims that prosecutors violated Gutierrez’s rights by disclosing her attorney-client communications to a third party.

Shared Text Messages

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Text messages exchanged between Gutierrez and Bowles were reportedly shared with Kenney after he requested a cellular report during the shooting’s investigation.

This request was related to a civil lawsuit that has since been dismissed. The report contained privileged communications, which Kenney was asked to destroy when this was realized.

Plea Agreement Offer

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Gutierrez was offered a plea agreement in which she would take responsibility for bringing live ammunition onto the ‘Rust’ set. However, she declined this offer.

The investigation has produced substantial evidence suggesting her involvement in bringing live rounds onto the set.

Firearm Charge

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Gutierrez’s attorneys argue that the firearm charge against her was motivated by prosecutorial vindictiveness.

They claim it was intended to pressure her into providing information or face unrelated felony charges.

Prosecutor’s Response

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Prosecutor Kari Morrissey argues that resolving unindicted cases as part of a plea offer is routine and that there is substantial evidence supporting the three felony charges against Gutierrez.

No Evidence Against Kenney

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The state has found no evidence linking ammunition supplier Seth Kenney to the live rounds on the ‘Rust’ set.

Alec Baldwin’s Indictment

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Alec Baldwin, who was involved in the shooting, was recently indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges, despite the initial dismissal of the case by special prosecutors.

Gutierrez’s Credibility as a Witness

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In emails discussing plea agreements, Morrissey expressed doubts about Gutierrez’s credibility as a witness against Baldwin, citing her reckless behavior and significant drug use.

Baldwin’s Plea

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Alec Baldwin entered a not guilty plea while waiving his arraignment.

Trial Schedule

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Jury selection for Hannah Gutierrez’s trial is set to begin on February 21, with the trial itself commencing on February 22.

Gutierrez has pleaded not guilty to all charges, with her defense anticipating a not guilty verdict.

They contend that she had requested more firearms training on set but was denied.

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Credit: Amanda Wesibrod photo illustration/RFA; Kim photo by AFP/KCNA via KNS
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