The testimony of independent experts in the Rust trial casts

The testimony of independent experts in the “Rust” trial casts doubt on Alec Baldwin’s version

Firearms expert Lucien Haag gave a long demonstration of how a single-action Colt revolver like the one Baldwin carried (Luis Sanchez Saturno/Portal)

The statement in court by a independent weapons expert threw on Tuesday new doubts about Alec Baldwin's version about what his gun fired without pulling the trigger in the fatal shooting of a cameraman during a rehearsal on the set of the western film in 2021 “Rust”.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. A trial over the cameraman's death is scheduled for July Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal for the film on the outskirts of Santa Fe.

The owner of “Rust”, Hannah Gutierrez ReedShe will face trial for her possible involvement in the death. pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence. The gunsmith's trial has complex implications for Baldwin, who did not appear in court.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed at one point during the trial (Luis Sánchez Saturn0/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

On Tuesday the firearms expert Lucien Haag gave a long demonstration of how a Colt single action revolverlike the one led by Baldwin, and by the Safety devices that prevent a fully cocked hammer from striking and firing ammunition if the trigger is not pulled.

An FBI expert testified this in court on Monday The revolver Baldwin used worked perfectly with the safety devices when he arrived at an FBI lab. The expert testified that he had to hit the fully loaded gun with a sledgehammer and break it so it could fire without pulling the trigger.

Haguean Arizona-based consultant and Old West firearms expert, He testified Tuesday that he saw no evidence that the gun was broken or altered before it was tested by the FBI..

“Have you seen any evidence that the full-barrier hammer or notch was filed or modified to allow for faster shooting?” asked prosecutor Kari Morrissey. “No,” Hague replied.

To demonstrate this, Haag and a colleague reassembled the weapon with only one damaged part – the hammer The safety devices still workedStopping the hammer under various circumstances when the trigger has not been pulled.

An FBI expert testified in court Monday that the revolver Baldwin used worked properly with safety devices.

The jury saw a video of this experiment with Baldwin's gunas the hammer was drawn back and released several times, each time being stopped by a safety notch before it could hit the ammunition chamber and fire the weapon.

“If you try to cock the gun and lose your grip, the hammer will fall and the safety notch will catch it.”“, explained Haag.

The detective who led the Rust investigation in Santa Fe said she was informed that the FBI would be conducting tests Baldwin's weapon that could damage or destroy it.

“We continued testing because Mr. Baldwin stated that he did not pull the trigger. And I believe his exact statement was that the gun had just been fired,” said Alexandra Hancock, an investigator with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. “So we had to figure out how to refute this theory or this statement. And that was the path that was suggested to us, and that's exactly what the FBI could do.”

The defenders of Gutiérrez-Reed states that The problems on the set of “Rust” were beyond the control of his client and have pointed to deficiencies in evidence collection and interrogations following the fatal shooting. It is said that the main ammunition supplier to “Rust” was not properly investigated. Seth Kenney.

During his lengthy testimony Tuesday, Hancock deepened his investigation into Gutierrez-Reed and Kenneywhile reviewing a series of Videotaped interviews with Gutiérrez-Reed on the set of “Rust” immediately after filming on October 21, 2021, later that same day in an interrogation room and again weeks later. Gutiérrez-Reed did not testify in court, although he was present behind the defense table.

The first video from a police lapel camera shows one Gutierrez-Reed was devastated shortly after the fatal shooting.

“Welcome to the worst day of my life,” The armed woman told the detective after the shooting but before she learned of Hutchins' death. ““I can’t believe Alec Baldwin was holding the gun.”.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed. Gutierrez-Reed on set after fatal shooting (Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office via The New York Times)

Prosecutors emphasized this Inconsistencies in Gutiérrez-Reed's videotaped statements, refuting his claim that he checked all the cartridges in Baldwin's gun before the shooting and shook it so that a telltale rattle was heard. This shaking can be used to identify inert blank cartridges in which bullets have been substituted for gunpowder, but researchers say that At least one cartridge contained no shotshells and was marked as empty by a hole in the side.

Hancock testified that he initially investigated Kenney as a possible source of live ammunition, which is specifically forbidden on movie sets, but discovered that he never went to the set of “Rust” and that a search of his Albuquerque property turned up live rounds They did not resemble the actual cartridges later discovered on the set of Rust, including the cartridge that killed Hutchins.

A photo of a bullet like the one that killed Hutchins (Luis Sánchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

In the meantime, Gutiérrez-Reed told investigators in November 2021 that he recovered loose ammunition from a bag left over from working on a previous film., verified that they were counterfeit cartridges and brought the cartridges to the “Rust” set in two boxes. He said the ammunition was in his car for the first time in two weeks.

Asked for one possible sabotage of cast or crew members, Gutierrez-Reed rejected the idea, saying no one there was “that vicious.”. Six members of the film crew quit their jobs the night before the fatal shooting over a dispute over working conditions.

Gutiérrez-Reed had also previously told investigators, including Hancock Baldwin spoke on the phone during firearms training for “Rust”suggesting he may have been distracted.

Defense attorneys had not yet had a chance to question Hancock on Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Gutierrez-Reed is guilty of bringing live ammunition to the set and that he considered basic gun safety protocols optional. They say six real cartridges found on the set of “Rust” had identical characteristics and did not match the real cartridges seized from the film's supplier in Albuquerque.

(With information from AP)