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Armorer's Trial In Rust Movie Set Shooting Nears Conclusion

Alec Baldwin

Today, closing arguments are expected to begin in the trial against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of the movie Rust that left cinematographer Helena Hutchins shot dead while she was filming a scene. The armorer is responsible for firearm safety on the set.

This trial has garnered nationwide attention, especially within the entertainment industry, due to the potential precedent it may establish. While Gutierrez-Reed did not directly shoot anyone and was not holding the gun when it discharged, the central issue revolves around whether the jury believes her negligence as the armorer contributed to Hutchins' tragic death.

The trial, spanning over nine days, has featured testimony from more than 35 witnesses. Prosecutors have focused on the alleged negligence, presenting evidence such as live rounds of ammunition mixed with dummy rounds on the set. They highlighted instances where live ammunition was found in gun belts and bandoliers worn by cast members, including a photo purportedly showing Gutierrez-Reed with a live round on her lap.

Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, with her defense arguing that she is being made a scapegoat. They have shifted blame to the Rust movie production, claiming a culture of unsafe practices driven by the rush to complete the film and cut costs. The defense even pointed fingers at actor Alec Baldwin, accusing him of violating basic gun safety rules.

During the trial, a witness from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration testified about workplace hazards related to firearms on the movie set. The witness stated that while safety protocols were in place, the production failed to enforce them effectively.

Closing arguments are set to commence today, following which the jury will deliberate on the case. The outcome of this trial will have significant implications for the film industry and the standards of safety on movie sets.

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