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‘Rust’ armorer can keep gun in home pending trial after persuading judge she needs it for ‘self-defense’

Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Alec Baldwin police interviews.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Alec Baldwin appear in screengrabs taken from separate police interview videos.

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed can keep a gun in her home pending trial, after her lawyer persuaded a New Mexico judge that she needs it for self-defense after the government released her private information.

The victory for Reed fell just days after her co-defendant, the film’s star and producer Alec Baldwin, scored a major victory taking the bulk of his potential punishment off the table.

Lasting less than 10 minutes, Reed’s hearing did not involve any plea, only the setting of Reed’s conditions of release. Her attorney Jason Bowles requested the “least restrictive” conditions allowing her maintain employment.

“We are also requesting your honor an exclusion to the normal standard condition that she be allowed to possess a firearm in her home only,” Bowles said.

He said that the reason for that request is that authorities failed to properly redact Reed’s personal information, leading to “numerous threats.”

“She had voicemails that were very, very bad,” the lawyer continued, adding that she had to obtain a restraining order against one “stalker.”

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies opposed that request on the grounds that the “case came about, at least in part, because of Miss Gutierrez Reed’s sloppy mishandling of firearms and guns.”

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate for her to have firearms,” the prosecutor added, proposing that she arm herself with pepper spray, a bat, or some other weapon.

Bowles countered that the request is about his client’s “self-protection because of actions that the state took in releasing private information.”

District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer appeared to agree.

“I am going to allow you to have a firearm for self-defense at your residence,” Sommer said.

Baldwin’s hearing and that of the case’s third co-defendant, David Halls, were canceled at the 11th hour on Thursday. Reed and Baldwin face charges of involuntary manslaughter. Halls pleaded down to a lesser offense, negligent use of a deadly weapon, that will have him avoid jail time.

All three had been accused of criminal liability over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.

Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb declared at the time of their charging that “Hutchins would be alive today” if not for their actions.

“It’s that simple,” Reeb added. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set.”

Reeb had been prosecuting the case in tandem with Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, and Baldwin has filed a motion to disqualify Reeb, claiming that her status as a GOP lawmaker in the New Mexico House of Representatives makes her appointment “unconstitutional.” Defendant Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles joined in that motion.

Both Baldwin and Reed also challenged the so-called firearm enhancement that made a five-year sentence a possibility. That statute was amended after Hutchins’ death, and the earlier version of the statute was inapplicable. Prosecutors later dropped the charge, which both argued violated the ex-post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The government did not withdraw the enhancement without some parting words, telling reporters that their about-face “avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys” and that the prosecution’s priority is “securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys.”

Baldwin’s lawyers called those swipes an extraordinary reaction to their “meritorious motion,” releasing his emails with prosecutor Reeb showing her stating that she “100 percent agree[d]” with his reading of the firearm enhancement.

Earlier this month, prosecutors submitted a 45-person list of potential witnesses at the hearing, largely—but not exclusively—composed of federal and local law enforcement officials.

On Thursday, Baldwin waived his appearance in court, obviating the need for a hearing. Judge Sommer issued an order setting his conditions of release, which will restrict him from having firearms or consuming alcohol. He can maintain contact with potential witnesses only in connection with completing the “Rust” movie and “unrelated business matters.”

Baldwin may not, however, “discuss the accident at issue, or the substance of his or the witnesses’ potential testimony in this case,” the order reads.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."