Actor Alec Baldwin’s attorney told a judge on Thursday that the New Mexico government destroyed the firearm from the deadly “Rust” shooting that killed the film’s cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin’s attorney Alex Spiro obliquely described the surprising development during a virtual hearing on Thursday.
“I think I should tell the court that the firearm in this case, that’s a great subject of it, was destroyed by the state,” Spiro remarked.
“So that’s obviously an issue,” he coolly remarked, with some understatement.
Spiro said that he’d like to see that firearm — “or what’s left of it.”
The revelation zipped by during a brief, 15-minute status conference held virtually via video and streamed on the court’s YouTube page.
After Spiro’s disclosure, the court turned to mundane scheduling matters, leaving the significance of the “destroyed” but seemingly critical piece of evidence hanging over future proceedings. The lawyer did not provide any clues as to who allegedly destroyed the weapon, when the incident occurred or why it happened. Nor did Baldwin’s legal team indicate what relief they would be seeking as a result.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies did not dispute the claim at any time during the proceedings.
Only after the proceedings did a spokesperson for the office of the First Judicial District Attorney push back against the remark.
That spokesperson, Heather Brewer, told Fox News Digital that the gun has “not been destroyed by the state.”
“The gun Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins has not been destroyed by the state. The gun is in evidence and is available for the defense to review,” Brewer told the news outlet.
“The defense’s unexpected statement in the status hearing today that the gun had been destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI’s July 2022 firearms testing report that said damage was done to internal components of the gun during the FBI’s functionality testing. However, the gun still exists and can be used as evidence,” she added.
On Jan. 19, 2023, Baldwin and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were charged with involuntary manslaughter for their alleged role in the tragic shooting on Oct. 21, 2021. Both deny any criminal liability for the events, but prosecutors claim that, if not for them, Hutchins will still be alive.
As the case prepares for trial, the two of them both achieved a significant victory, after prosecutors dropped a sentencing enhancement that raised the possibility of five years of imprisonment over their heads. Baldwin successfully argued that the enhancement was unconstitutional, as it cited a law revised well after the late 2021 shooting.
After Reed joined Baldwin’s motion, prosecutors voluntarily withdrew the enhancement, claiming that doing so would “avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys.” Baldwin’s attorneys skewered those public swipes as an extraordinary reaction to their “meritorious motion.”
But Baldwin’s pretrial litigation is not done.
The “Beetlejuice” actor has sought to disqualify special prosecutor Andrea Reeb, arguing that New Mexico’s constitution forbids her from playing any judicial role while she’s simultaneously serving as a Republican lawmaker in the state’s House of Representatives.
“Under Section 1 of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution, however, a sitting member of the Legislature may not ‘exercise any powers properly belonging’ to either the executive or judicial branch,” Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas writes in a Feb. 7 motion to disqualify, also joined by Reed’s legal team.
New Mexico Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer scheduled a hearing for March 27 on that motion.
A preliminary examination has been scheduled for May.
The film’s assistant director David Halls signed an as-yet-undisclosed plea agreement for a different charge: negligent use of a deadly weapon, which would have the AD serve a suspended sentence and six months of probation. That deal is not yet public.
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