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N.M. Judge May Compel Testimony of Armorer for Baldwin Movie Set

A New Mexico judge is scheduled to consider at a Friday hearing whether to compel a movie-set armorer to testify at actor Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial for the fatal shooting nearly three years ago of a cinematographer during rehearsal for the Western movie “Rust.” Prosecutors are seeking a court order for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed to testify with immunity for her against related prosecution. Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the shooting of Halyna Hutchins at a movie-set ranch. Baldwin figured prominently at that previous trial, which highlighted gun-safety protocols and his authority as a co-producer and the lead actor on “Rust,” the Associated Press reports.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed both oppose efforts to compel her testimony. At a pretrial interview in May, Gutierrez-Reed exercised her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions. During Friday’s hearing, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer is expected to weigh two defense requests to scuttle the trial on arguments that Baldwin had no reason to believe the gun could contain live ammunition and that it was heavily damaged during FBI forensic testing before it could be examined for possible modifications that might exonerate the actor. “The government took the most critical evidence in this case — the firearm — and destroyed it by repeatedly and pointlessly striking it with a mallet,” defense attorneys said in court filings. “Government agents knew that the firearm would not survive.”


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