Rust’s assistant director is set to testify against Alec Baldwin when the star goes on trial for manslaughter following the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set in October 2021.
Prosecutors obtained testimony from David Halls in their case against Baldwin and Rust’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Variety reports. Baldwin accidentally shot Hutchins after receiving a loaded gun during filming.
Previous witnesses said Halls turned the gun over to Baldwin and declared it a “cold weapon” despite the presence of live ammunition in the room, according to a search warrant. “Cold gun” is a term used on sets to indicate that live ammunition is not being used.
In a December deposition to the New Mexico Office of Occupational Health and Safety, Halls denied giving the gun to Baldwin, saying he gave it to Gutierrez-Reed. He also accused Gutierrez-Reed of saying “cold gun”.
Halls also likened Hutchins’ death to a plane crash in that it was not the fault of any one person but rather “a system failure”.
David Halls, the first assistant director on the set of Rust, is expected to testify against Alec Baldwin
In November, Baldwin had launched a lawsuit against Halls, in addition to other production staff.
Halls signed a plea agreement for the negligent use of a deadly weapon in the case that included six months probation.
The New Mexico Office of Occupational Health and Safety has launched a lawsuit against the producers of Rust after the shooting.
Halls told the deposition he had no “recollection” of saying “cold weapon” adding, “I remember Hannah saying it.”
“It’s like what they say about a plane crash. It’s like it’s not a thing, you know. It’s a system failure.
Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the Santa Fe District Attorney, told Variety, “We are aware of the apparent inconsistencies in the testimony. However, we are confident that there is more than enough evidence to demonstrate negligence and obtain justice for Halyna Hutchins.
Gutierrez-Reed previously told investigators she gave the gun to Halls without knowing it contained live ammunition. She said she never said ‘cold gun’ on set.
She told the deposition, “I don’t like the term ‘cold gun’. I know it was thrown around a lot on set. It was mostly Dave’s terminology.
Hutchins was the film’s cinematographer and is shown here on her Instagram page
Baldwin openly defied to pull the trigger, but that contradicts an FBI analysis of the vintage Colt handgun that fired the fatal shot
“If any of these three people – Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls – had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s as simple as that,’ Andrea Reeb, the DA-appointed special prosecutor in the case, said earlier this month.
Baldwin has vowed to fight the charges – and blame for who was responsible for the shooting has already played out in court.
In November, Baldwin filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez Reed, Halls, props supplier Seth Kenney and props master Sarah Zachry. He alleges negligence and seeks damages to be determined at trial for the “tremendous grief” he endured.
His lawsuit stems from a previous lawsuit in which fellow crew member Mami Mitchell sued Baldwin and others for emotional distress and negligence for ignoring red flags about gun safety on set. She will be allowed to sue Baldwin and his production company El Dorado Pictures.
And in a third civil case, Hutchins’ widow reached an undisclosed settlement in October in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Baldwin and others.
FBI testing revealed a total of five live ammunition among the guns in the film, six if you count the bullet that exploded, killing Hutchins and injuring writer-director Joel Souza.
Producer and actor Baldwin fired the prop gun (pictured) that killed a crew member and injured another on the set of the movie ‘Rust’ in New Mexico
The DA’s case will primarily focus on the actions of Baldwin, assistant director Dave Halls, who Baldwin claims gave him the gun, and gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was responsible for equipping the guns. on the movie.
Baldwin openly denied pulling the trigger, but this was contradicted by an FBI analysis of the vintage Colt handgun that fired the fatal shot.
“With the hammer fully cocked, the revolver could not be fired without a pull of the trigger while the internal working components were intact and functional,” according to the report.
FBI analysis confirmed that there were several other live rounds of .45 caliber ammunition present on the Rust set on the day Hutchins died, some of them on costumes of other actors in the stage.
All of the bullets were embossed with the “Starline Brass” logo, a company that supplies materials for craft bullets.
Two loose .45 rounds were recovered from the top of a prop cart. A third was in a bandolier carried by one of the performers, and a fourth was found in a brown case, according to the outlet.
Hutchins died on the set of the movie ‘Rust,’ after being shot by a gun held by Alec Baldwin
The 42-year-old cinematographer was killed on October 21, 2021 on the set of Bonanza Creek Ranch in Sante Fe during rehearsals for American Western Film
The report didn’t say which belt belonged to which actor, but a source close to the production told Vanity Fair that the bandolier belonged to the character played by Supernatural actor Jensen Ackles and the holster belonged to Baldwin.
The fifth live bullet was found in a box of dummy ammunition, fake bullets resembling real bullets.
This container “is the suspect box that Hannah was loading the gun with,” the report said.
“This box contained 36 suspected dummy cartridges and one suspected real cartridge, which is the cartridge that was tested.”
It is still unclear how the bullet entered the container, but the report included a fingerprint test of the box.
“Hannah is identified as the only person of interest with a positive latent print ID on the ammo box.”
A fingerprint analysis of the bullet had not been done, which Gutierrez Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, questioned.
Gutierrez Reed’s father, longtime gunsmith Thell Reed, had contacted investigators to suggest the live ammunition may have been introduced into the set by prop supplier Seth Kenney.
Investigators searched his Albuquerque store in November 2021 to examine live bullets. Thell Reed said the vendor once used to train actors on a shooting range.
“Chemical testing revealed that all of the powder in these cartridges was uniform, but did not match the cartridges collected from Rust’s shelf,” the report said.
The phones of Gutierrez Reed, Halls and other figures in the case were examined by detectives, and messages about security issues before the shooting were also included in the report.