Actor ALEC BALDWIN 'wants Hollywood pals to testify in his defense' in trial over fatal shooting of film's cinematographer HALYNA HUTCHINS

Monday, March 11, 2024
 – I’m American actor, Alec Baldwin will reportedly have a potential list of actors testify in his upcoming manslaughter trial in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western film Rust on October 21, 2021.

Insiders close to the case told TMZ on Thursday that Oscar-nominated actor, 65, and his team are 'considering putting together a list of famous people' who would take the stand in his defense, as in January, he entered a not guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter.

This comes a day after a New Mexico jury deliberated less than three hours before convicting armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 26, of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins' death.

Gutierrez-Reed was swiftly taken into custody after the verdict was read, as she awaits sentencing, facing up to 18 months in prison.

The 30 Rock actor and his team are specifically looking to build a witness list of 'people who've already spoken out in Alec's defense,' insiders told the outlet.

The focal point of the testimony would be how responsible an actor is for the weapons on the set of a production, sources told TMZ, adding that plans were nowhere close to being finalized yet.

Actors who have past publicly spoken in defense of Baldwin include his Rust costar Frances Fisher, as well as Mickey Rourke, Debra Messing, and DJ Qualls.

Rourke, 71, told the outlet that he has not been in contact with anyone from Baldwin's legal team, but that he would be willing to testify in defense of the actor.

'Whatever Alec needs I’ll be there 100 percent,' Rourke said. 'The armorer is 100 percent responsible for any gun handed to an actor. Especially, to an actor who didn't have experience with guns.'

Rourke in January of 2023 on Instagram that there's 'no way in hell actor Alec Baldwin should be charged with any negligence whatsoever,' as 'the guns are supposed to he handled only by' the weapon armorer.

The Academy Award-nominated actor added, 'the powers [that] be charging Baldwin with this responsibility is terribly wrong,' adding that Baldwin 'is already suffering enough over what happened' and it's 'terribly terribly wrong' to blame him for the tragic shooting.

Fisher said in January 2023 in a social media post in reaction to a Deadline story about the case, 'Anyone NOT in the industry or who has not worked on a set should STFU - you’re showing your ignorance.'

Fisher, 71, added: 'The grandstanding prosecutor doesn’t even go after the true culprit: Who put a live round in the gun?‼️ There is NO investigation about that. THAT is the question.'

Gutierrez-Reed on Wednesday was swiftly taken into custody as she awaits sentencing, facing up to 18 months in prison.

Baldwin figured prominently into testimony and closing arguments over two weeks that highlighted his authority as a co-producer and the lead actor on Rust. Both the prosecution and defense in Gutierrez-Reed´s trial dissected video footage of Baldwin before the fatal shooting for clues about breakdowns in firearms safety.

Baldwin´s trial is scheduled for July and will involve the same judge and prosecutors as well as many of the same witnesses. Baldwin has maintained that he pulled back the gun´s hammer, but not the trigger, and the weapon fired, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Having seen Gutierrez-Reed's trial play out will be a boon to Baldwin and his legal team, said Emily D. Baker, a legal analyst and former Los Angeles deputy district attorney who wasn't involved in the case but followed it closely.

'They´re in the incredible position of getting to watch this prosecutor in action, see how this judge works, and come in knowing exactly what these experts are going to say and how they present to the jury,' Baker said Wednesday. 'I don´t think Baldwin´s going to want to deal in this case, and I think his legal team will tell him this is a very different case than the case against Hannah.'

A weapons expert for the prosecution in Gutierrez-Reed's case gave strong testimony, Baker said. But the armorer expert was aligned with what Baldwin's team has been saying all along - that it wasn't his job to check the weapon, Baker said.

Expert witness and movie firearms consultant Bryan Carpenter testified that images showed Baldwin firing blanks toward a camera within a 'no-go' zone at close range, flouting safety protocols as he commanded crew members to quickly reload his revolver, and waving a gun like a pointing stick after the close of one scene. Another clip captures the sound of Baldwin firing a gun after a director calls out, 'Cut!'

Investigators haven't found any video recordings of the shooting, which took place during a rehearsal inside a makeshift church on October 21, 2021, on a movie set outside Santa Fe. But Gutierrez-Reed's trial included previously undisclosed testimony from eyewitnesses to the shooting.

Those witnesses included Souza, who felt the shock of a bullet's impact as he moved in for a view of the camera monitor - but never saw the gun that shot him.

A camera-dolly operator and the assistant director Dave Halls also gave visceral accounts of the revolver firing and the aftermath. Script writer Mamie Mitchell testified that the script didn't call for Baldwin to point the gun.

'Alec Baldwin´s conduct and his lack of gun safety inside that church on that day is something that he´s going to have to answer for,' prosecutor Kari Morrissey said in her closing arguments against Gutierrez-Reed. 'Not with you and not today. That´ll be with another jury, on another day.'

Morrissey and co-counsel Jason Lewis presented the case against Baldwin to a grand jury in January and secured an indictment on the single felony count that gives them two pathways to prosecution.

A recent analysis of the gun gave them the opportunity to reboot the case after an initial involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin was dismissed.

That analysis by Forensic Science Services in Arizona concluded 'the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.'

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