Alec Baldwin Lawyer Claims 'Rust' Gun That Killed Halyna Hutchins Was 'Destroyed'

Alec Baldwin's attorney claimed the gun that fired and killed Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 was "destroyed" by New Mexico authorities on Thursday. A few hours later though, a spokeswoman for New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said the weapon was not destroyed. Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter and entered a not-guilty plea last month.

The court held a virtual status hearing on Thursday, during which Baldwin's attorney, Alex Spiro, told Judge Mary Marlow Sommer that his team recently learned that the state "destroyed" the 1880s prop gun that fatally shot Hutchins and wounded Rust director Joel Souza. "The court, I don't think is aware of this point, but I think I should tell the court that the firearm in this case, that's a great subject of it, was destroyed by the state," Spiro said, reports Deadline. "So, that's obviously an issue and we're going to need to see that firearm, or what's left of it."

Prosecutors did not immediately respond to the claim, which made headlines almost immediately after the hearing. Carmack-Altwies' spokeswoman, Heather Brewer, later clarified that the weapon was not destroyed. "The gun Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins has not been destroyed by the state," Brewer told Deadline. "The gun is in evidence and is available for the defense to review."

"The defense's unexpected statement in the status hearing today that the gun had been destroyed by the state may be a reference to a statement in the FBI's July 2022 firearms testing report that said damage was done to internal components of the gun during the FBI's functionality testing," Brewer continued. "However, the gun still exists and can be used as evidence."

The preliminary hearing on May 3 may include more details on the state of the gun. Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, will attend the hearing in person, reports ABC News. Gutierrez Reed also pleaded not guilty.

Baldwin was rehearsing for Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021. The gun was loaded with live rounds and fatally shot Hutchins. Souza was also wounded in the shooting. In January, New Mexico prosecutors announced plans to criminally charge Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed. Baldwin denied the allegations, with his attorney saying he had no reason to believe the weapon would have live rounds.

"This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice," attorney Luke Nikas said in a Jan. 19 statement. "Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win."

Hutchins' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit and reached a settlement with producers and Baldwin in October 2022. However, Baldwin is still facing a civil lawsuit from Hutchins' parents and sister. The producers and Baldwin also face a lawsuit from three Rust crew members who claim they experienced emotional distress and negligence because the producers allegedly ignored industry-standard safety rules.