DA refutes claims that 'Rust' gun was destroyed

Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 shooting.

ByAaron Katersky and Ivan Pereira ABCNews logo
Friday, March 10, 2023
DA drops most severe charge against Alec Baldwin in 'Rust' shooting
The Santa Fe DA is dropping the gun enhancement charge against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" set.

Prosecutors in the criminal trial against Alec Baldwin and the armorer involved in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins refuted claims by the defense that the gun used in the incident was destroyed.

NOTE: The video in the media player is from a previous report.

Baldwin's lawyer, Alex Spiro, told the court during a status conference on Thursday that "the firearm in this case that's a great subject of it, and was destroyed by the state."

"So that's obviously an issue and we're going to have to see that firearm or what's left of it," Spiro said.

However, a few hours later, Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, released a statement clarifying the status of the weapon and said it had not been destroyed.

"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," Brewer said in the statement.

This aerial photo shows the movie set of "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Oct. 23, 2021.
Jae C. Hong

The weapon was is available for the defense to review, she added.

A source close to the defense told ABC News that the weapon's damage was "very problematic," since it is a key piece of evidence that led to involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial, along with the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was also charged with involuntary manslaughter.

During Thursday's conference, Judge Mary Sommer set a date of May 3 for the preliminary hearing in the case. Prosecutors presented a list of 46 possible witnesses, and both Baldwin and Guitierrez-Reed will attend in person.

On Oct. 21, 2021, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene for the independent Western at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. Hutchins was shot and killed when Baldwin was practicing with a Colt .45 revolver. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the shooting.

Several lawsuits have been filed in connection with the shooting, including a wrongful death suit filed by Hutchins' family. They reached a settlement with Baldwin and producers in October.

First assistant director David Halls agreed to plead no contest to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The plea agreement is pending a judge's approval, prosecutors have said.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.