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‘Rust’ Prosecutors Want To Exclude Alec Baldwin Witnesses From Trial

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Actor Alec Baldwin is continuing to face charges in connection with the death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The beloved crew member was killed on October 21, 2021, when a gun that the “30 Rock” actor was holding went off.

Baldwin has maintained that he never pulled the trigger, but a trial scheduled for July will determine whether or not he faces time behind bars for the incident. It took a jury less than three hours to find armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, who will oversee Baldwin’s trial as well, sentenced her to the state maximum of 18 months behind bars.

More than a month before the trial, “Rust” prosecutors have filed a motion to exclude several witnesses called by the defense.

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Alec Baldwin Witnesses Should Be Excluded From ‘Rust’ Trial, Says Prosecutors

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According to court documents obtained by The Blast, “Rust” prosecutors want to exclude several witnesses, claiming that they were submitted to the court in bad faith. “On March 1, 2024, the defense filed its witness list naming only one witness,” the filing states. Then, on May 6, 2024, the deadline for filing pretrial motions, the defense filed a witness list adding nine new witnesses the defense had not previously or promptly disclosed to the State.”

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Although the state admits that they did submit the witness list by the deadline, the prosecutors note that “the defense refused to disclose or even mention to the State its intention to add the nine new witnesses the defense disclosed for the first time on May 6, 2024, at nearly 6:00 p.m.” They claim that this was done in bad faith, alleging that “The defendant’s apparent strategy was designed to gain a tactical advantage so that the State would be unable, within allowed deadlines, to properly investigate the defense witnesses and determine whether it would be necessary for the State to list new witnesses for the purpose of refuting the testimony of the late disclosed witnesses.”

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Prosecutors Claim They Did Not Receive Any Witness Statements

Alec Baldwin at the 2023 Roundabout Theatre Company Gala
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In addition, prosecutors claim that they were never provided with any witness statements for the individuals who were added to Alec Baldwin’s witness list at the last minute. “The State was also not provided with any witness statements. While the defense claims they do not have any statements, it is incredulous they do not possess any witness statements by these witnesses when they have listed them on their witness list,” the filing states.

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They also took issue with the fact that they would be unable to enter any new witnesses of their own to counter any witnesses brought in by the defense because the filing was submitted at the very last minute. “The State has now been prejudiced by the defendant’s strategy to gain a tactical advantage as the State is unable to file pretrial motions as it relates to the new witnesses, is unable to properly investigate the statements of the witnesses and list its own new witnesses to refute the testimony of the belatedly disclosed witnesses,” the prosecution wrote.

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“Accordingly, this Court must exclude the nine new witnesses disclosed for the first time on May 6, 2024,” lead prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey concluded. At this time, it is unclear if Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer will side with the prosecution and exclude the witnesses from the trial, or allow the witnesses to testify when the trial starts in July.

Alec Baldwin’s Legal Team Attempted To Get The Charges Dropped

Alec Baldwin sits down with police for interview following Rust shooting
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During a lengthy hearing on Friday, May 17, Baldwin’s legal team attempted to sway Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer into tossing the case against the actor out. Kari Morrissey, the state special prosecutor, and Alex Spiro, one of Baldwin’s lawyers, went back and forth in front of the judge in an exchange that often became heated.

“I have no idea what Mr. Spiro is talking about,” Morrissey said at one point in the hearing. “Everything he is saying to you right now is a complete misrepresentation of what happened.”

“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 the gun,” Morrissey went on to say. “And it’s simply not the case.”

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‘Rust’ Prosecutors Insist They Are Not Acting In ‘Bad Faith’

//Alec Baldwin Car Accident Lawsuit  scaled
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At another point, Morrissey argued that they were not acting in “bad faith,” as Baldwin’s attorney put it. “There’s no bad faith here,” she said. “We are presenting the facts to the grand jury as we see them.”

The special prosecutor told the judge that Halyna Hutchins’ death occurred because “safety protocol was not followed,” adding, “That’s the reason Halyna Hutchins died.”

Alec Baldwin’s trial is scheduled to begin on July 9, 2024. He faces up to 18 months behind bars and up to $5,000 in fines if found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

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