Mere hours after the first of what is expected to be many lawsuits was filed over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust last month, the main lawyers for one of the crew members at the center of the police investigation have turned up the volume on their sabotage theory.
“We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed,” said Jason Bowles today of his client Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
Doubling down again on the theory first floated last week and disputed by First Judicial DA Mary Carmack-Altwies on Good Morning America today, the remarks come a day after the armorer sat down for another interview with the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office. “This morning we offered to share additional, critical information with the Sheriff’s Office and are awaiting their response on the sharing of information,” Bowles added. Gutierrez-Reed first spoke to the police in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Hutchins and the injuring of director Joel Souza late last month.
Here is Bowles’ full statement today:
Yesterday, we met with the Santa Fe County Deputy Sheriffs and Hannah continued to cooperate and provided a full interview. Information is coming out that needs to be fully investigated and considered by the District Attorney. We eagerly await the FBI’s investigation as well and we are asking for a full and complete investigation of all of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they ended up in the “dummies” box, and who put them in there. We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived. The truth finding process demands that the District Attorney and FBI run down all of the evidence, including the nature of those live rounds. This morning we offered to share additional, critical information with the Sheriff’s Office and are awaiting their response on the sharing of information.
Three search warrants executed by the police at the Bonanza Creek Ranch have found a number of weapons and, according to Sheriff Adan Mendoza, “500 rounds of ammunition … a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds.”
As the official probe deepened last week, criminal defense attorney Bowles and fellow lawyer Robert Gorence told a sometimes-incredulous Savannah Guthrie live on Today that “the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set.”
Detailed live from Las Vegas in a media tour last week and followed by a statement the next day in the name of Gutierrez-Reed, the doubt-seeding theory suggests that “disgruntled” former camera crew members might have had something to do with that live round appearing where it distinctly shouldn’t have been.
Hours before the killing of Hutchins, several members of that team resigned from the $7 million-budgeted Western citing safety and financial reasons. On CNN on November 3, former Rust crew member Lane Loper disputed the sabotage theory, calling it a “dangerous and irresponsible theory to put out on TV.”
Sabotage or not, there already was a lot of danger on the Rust set before Hutchins was killed.
Noting that she was hired as a props assistant as well as armorer on Rust, Gutierrez-Reed confirmed in her statement of October 28 that there were at least two other incidents of weapons mistakenly discharging on the set before the tragedy of October 21.
At almost the same time, First Assistant Director David Halls admitted to the Sheriff’s Office that he did not properly check the 1880s-era weapon before declaring it a “cold gun” and handling it to star/producer Baldwin for the “quick draw” rehearsal. Like the armorer, Halls retained a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer in late October.
As Deadline reported on October 25, Halls was fired from a previous film because of gun safety lapses and was not rehired over personal misconduct complaints on a 2019 Blumhouse TV project.
Even though Rust gaffer Serge Svetnoy on Wednesday filed a jury-seeking complaint of general negligence against the production, Baldwin, Halls, Gutierrez-Reed and others, no one has been arrested or charged over the Rust shooting.