Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting trial: Experts warn armorer’s maximum sentence is ominous sign for actor

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Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s maximum sentence is “bad news” for Alec Baldwin, who heads to court in July for the same charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the “Rust” movie set fatal shooting.

The “Rust” armorer was sentenced to 18 months behind bars after a judge slammed her for not taking responsibility for her actions that a jury found led to the death of the movie’s cinematographer. Halyna Hutchins died Oct. 21, 2021, after a gun that Baldwin was holding discharged.

The actor will appear in a New Mexico courtroom on July 9 for his own trial. Baldwin was a producer for the film as well as the lead actor. Gutierrez Reed’s sentencing is an ominous sign of what’s to come for the “30 Rock” star, legal experts told Fox News Digital.

‘RUST’ STAR ALEC BALDWIN HAD ‘NO CONTROL’ OVER EMOTIONS, ‘NO CONCERN’ HOW CONDUCT AFFECTED SET: PROSECUTORS

Rust cast and crew Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez Reed

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s maximum sentence is an ominous sign for Alec Baldwin as he heads into his own trial, legal experts tell Fox News Digital. (New Mexico Courts/Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office)

“This is bad news for Alec Baldwin and shows the court is taking this fatal shooting seriously and that it’s not just for show, as his defenders claim,” Los Angeles personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio, co-founder of Custodio and Dubey LLP, told Fox News Digital. “A plea deal would be the best strategy for him right now, considering [Monday’s] sentencing and the information the prosecution has about the chaos on the set and Baldwin’s failure to do anything about it. But I don’t see that happening.”

“Baldwin may think that he will have an easier time if he believes that his team can convince a jury to see that the only culpable party has already been convicted. That’s a risky proposition, given Baldwin’s role as a producer actually involves him in all aspects of the production. Potential jurors will clearly know what went on with Gutierrez Reed and will really scrutinize Baldwin’s lack of responsibility for the chaos on the set.”

A jury will likely hear the prosecution claim that Baldwin did oversee “chaos” on the “Rust” set and knew Gutierrez Reed was “overwhelmed with her duties but chose not to do anything about it,” according to Custodio.

“And remember, Alec Baldwin will be in the same court, with the same judge, in the same community, with prosecutors presenting many of the same facts. And he’s facing the same sentence: 18 months imprisonment.”

Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin pose for a photo in NYC

Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin (Getty Images/File)

ALEC BALDWIN’S ‘RUST’ ARMORER CONVICTED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

Alec Baldwin kisses Hilaria Baldwin while arriving at Don Lemon's wedding

Alec Baldwin gives wife Hilaria Baldwin a kiss while out in New York City. (Getty Images/File)

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer “laid out” her thinking “exactly” while sentencing Gutierrez Reed, criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos said during an appearance on the Fox News Channel.

“It’s tough. I don’t think that there was, by definition, any intent, but the law will still hold you responsible,” he said. “The judge kind of laid out exactly her thinking. I will tell you, if you’re defending Alec Baldwin, this is going to give you grave, grave concern going into that trial.”

“I expect he’s got a tough road here because [Gutierrez Reed’s] trial was filled with trying to shift blame to him.”

Geragos said the upcoming trial will be a “heavy lift” for Baldwin: “You’ve got somebody who’s already been sentenced to 18 months … and now he’s got to go in there. He’s the person giving the orders. He’s the one who was handling the gun.”

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‘RUST’ STAR ALEC BALDWIN’S LEGAL TEAM SLAMMED FOR ‘COUNTLESS LIES,’ ‘MANIPULATION’ AS ACTOR BATTLES INDICTMENT

Hannah Gutierrez Reed being led out of a courtroom

A jury found Hannah Gutierrez Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter on March 6, 2024, after two weeks of trial. (Luis Sánchez Saturno/Pool/Getty Images)

However, Gutierrez Reed’s behavior after her conviction seemingly played into the judge’s decision. During the April 15 hearing, the prosecution and Sommer both mentioned statements the armorer made in jailhouse phone calls, including bad-mouthing the jurors and complaining about the trial ruining her “modeling career.”

“I find that what you did constitutes a serious, violent offense,” Sommer told Gutierrez Reed. “It was committed in a physically violent manner; a fatal gunshot done with your recklessness in the face of knowledge that your acts were reasonably likely to result in serious harm.”

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“You were the armorer, the one that’s to be between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Mrs. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed in New Mexico court for sentencing

Hannah Gutierrez Reed was sentenced to 18 months in prison. (New Mexico Courts)

Gutierrez Reed “should have expected” to receive the maximum sentence after this behavior, former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News Digital.

“I don’t think Gutierrez Reed’s sentence will affect Baldwin,” he explained. “She was stupid enough to call the jurors ‘idiots’ and ‘a–holes’ and to say the judge was ‘paid off’ in recorded jail calls. She should have expected to receive the maximum sentence after that.”

“Baldwin is too polished and sophisticated to make those same mistakes,” said Rahmani, the founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers. “And his lawyers are too good to allow that to happen. Even if Baldwin is convicted, I expect him to get less time.”

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Gutierrez Reed’s maximum sentence showed she’s “bearing the brunt” of the negligence that led to the death of Hutchins at Bonanza Creek Ranch, but that doesn’t mean that Baldwin as a producer is off the hook, Heidi Reavis, managing partner at Reavis Page Jump LLP, told Fox News Digital.

“Many people will believe she is the scapegoat and Alec Baldwin will get off easy. However, the severity of the sentence indicates no sympathy for those responsible,” Reavis said. “What I find very interesting is the evidence that came out during Reed’s trial shows her many efforts to slow down the production, enhance security and have more training for those handling firearms. She was denied.” 

“So, the producers aren’t out of the desert just yet,” she added. “Then again, New Mexico profits from extending production benefits and won’t want to discourage producers from filming there. So, as usual, it’s political.”

Alec Baldwin sits in Rust church

Alec Baldwin sits in the church movie set where Halyna Hutchins was killed. (New Mexico Courts/File)

WATCH: ALEC BALDWIN DODGES QUESTIONS ABOUT INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER TRIAL

Baldwin was indicted on two counts – involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm, or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection – on Jan. 19.

Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun that led to Hutchins’ death. At the time, he had been rehearsing a scene featuring a cross-draw that Hutchins wanted to possibly add to the script.

“The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos in an interview shortly after the fatal shooting.

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“No, no, no, no, I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger. Never.”

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