Alec Baldwin Hearing Turns Into Verbal Brawl Between ‘Rust’ Prosecutor & Defense Lawyer; Judge Sets Ruling On Dismissing Involuntary Manslaughter Charges For Next Week

“I’m not going to sit here and be called a liar!”

In what was one of a number of acidic exchanges today between lawyers, that’s what clearly heated Rust Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey told a virtual hearing today on a motion by Alec Baldwin’s defense to see the involuntary manslaughter charges against their client dismissed

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Despite his lawyers’ best efforts Friday over the long hearing, Baldwin will not know for several more days if he is still going to stand trial this summer on involuntary manslaughter charges for the fatal 2021 shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Late this morning, Judge Mary Marlowe Summer told the assembled attorneys that she will make public next week her decision on whether or not to dismiss the indictment. “I’ll put it in writing, look for that,” she said, wearily signing off.

The State v. Alexander Rae Baldwin trial is scheduled to start on July 9 and last about two weeks. Baldwin did not attend today’s virtual hearing.

If things started off with a healthy dose of legalese this morning, the very end of over two-hour hearing saw things get very personal tense between Morrissey and defense attorney Alex Spiro – especially as the latter sought one last “60 seconds” (though he went much longer) from an indulgent Judge Sommer to push back on her argument about why Baldwin should face New Mexico justice this summer.

“I have no idea what Mr. Spiro is talking about,” the Special Prosecutor hit back.  “Everything he is saying to you right now is complete misrepresentation of what has happened,” she told the Land of Enchantment judge of the New York lawyer. “That’s what these people do,” Morrissey caustically added in a repeat of opinions on the defense expressed in past filings by the prosecution in the high profile case.

With some rarefied statute and legal precedent in play, as well as shout outs to New York Times quotes and Grand Jury leaks, the defense put up a deeply referenced argument today and certainly piqued the interest of Judge Sommer on several nuances. However, while acknowledging some oversights, overall most of the work of Baldwin’s lawyers was vehemently rejected by Morrissey

“The defense wants somehow to try to convince the court that the actor who is holding a real gun in his hand has absolutely no responsibility for what he does without gun,” Morrissey declared. “And it’s simply not the case.”

“There’s no bad faith here …we are presenting the facts to the grand jury as we see them,” she stated at another point, putting emphasis on sufficiency of evidence.

“The reason that this death occurred is because the safety protocol was not followed,” Morrissey told the gathering, justifying why the prosecution brought in another witness other than the lead police detective to detail set safety to the Grand Jury  “That’s the reason Halyna Hutchins died.”

Earlier, the multi-Emmy winner’s lawyers were fast to once again frame their client as a victim of prosecutorial overreach and misconduct.

“The fix was in,” said Baldwin attorney Spiro early in the virtual hearing Friday of what documents and witnesses was permitted to the Grand Jury by prosecutors. “There is a way to do this that is fair …that’s not what happened in this case.”

“That’s why we need this court to step in and end this abuse of power,” the Quinn Emanuel lawyer told Judge Sommer and Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey this morning.

Spiro went on to accuse “over-zealous prosecutor” Morrissey of “diverting the witnesses” in the Hannah Gutierrez-Reed trial from information and testimony that could have been of benefit to Baldwin. The ex-Rust armorer was quickly found guilty of involuntary manslaughter herself by a Santa Fe jury on March 6, taken into custody and sentenced to 18 months behind bars on April 14.

Pivoting to the Gutierrez-Reed case, Spiro’s colleague Luke Nikas told the hearing that Baldwin had no official responsibility to check the gun he had been handed on the troubled Rust set that horrible day. “There are people who are responsible for checking it, not the actor, Nikas said, pointing out that the weight of that responsibility was the basis for the successful prosecution of Gutierrez-Reed earlier this year.

In the weeks since her sentencing, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles has been unsuccessful in getting his client out on bail. Earlier this month, Bowles had filed a formal notice of appeal With the slow moving wheels of justice, that appeal that may still be going on when Gutierrez-Reed has already completed her sentence.

Baldwin could be sentenced to 18 months behind bars and thousands in fines too if found guilty in his own trial later this year.

Recharged with involuntary manslaughter in late January and having entered a not guilty plea not long afterward, Baldwin has always insisted that he never actually pulled the trigger on the Colt .45 that killed Hutchins and wounded Rust director Joel Souza with live rounds. Even as the current condition of the weapon remains in dispute, the FBI and independent analysis contend that Baldwin had to have pulled the trigger for the gun to fire.

Baldwin is also fighting around half a dozen civil cases in California and New Mexico courts related to Rust and the tragic shooting of almost three years ago.

With a wrongful death suit from Hutchins’ husband and son settled in 2022, Rust was resurrected in early 2023 with widower Matthew Hutchins on board as an executive producer. Filming completed in Montana with Baldwin and Souza returning as star/producer and director respectively.

Finished for months, Rust has not been picked up by any buyers so far.

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