Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin, who's at the centre of the fatal shooting trial on the sets of his upcoming movie 'Rust'.
Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin, who's at the centre of the fatal shooting trial on the sets of his upcoming movie 'Rust'. Image Credit: AP

Special prosecutors in the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of the Alec Baldwin film ‘Rust’ asked to shield the name of a witness from public disclosure as they pursue charges against a movie weapons specialist.

Prosecutors said in court filings that the witness is prepared to testify that film set armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed handed off a small bag of illegal substances to the witness after returning from an interview at a police station. But they said the witness worries about being harassed by media and blacklisted by the industry.

Gutierrez-Reed is fighting charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering as the sole remaining defendant in the case after prosecutors dropped an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin in April. Prosecutors can still refile charges against him, however.

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Sets of the movie 'Rust', where the fatal shooting took place. Image Credit: AP

Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal when it went off, killed her and injured director Joel Souza on October 21, 2021.

In a new court filing, prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said the testimony about an illegal substance transfer will support allegations that Gutierrez-Reed attempted to prevent law enforcement from obtaining evidence related to the handling of the firearm before the shooting.

The witness is afraid that if they testify, they could be shut out by the film industry “for coming forward with information about the defendant,” the court filing said. “They wish to keep their identify from the public for as long as possible.”

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The evidence tampering charge was filed last week against Gutierrez-Reed. Prosecutors have alleged that she was smoking illegal substances in the evenings during the filming of ‘Rust’ and was likely hung-over on the day a live bullet was loaded into the gun Baldwin used.

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles has called the move “retaliatory and vindictive” and an example of “character assassination” by prosecutors with a weak case.