'Rust' Armorer Appeals Conviction, Cites Trial Errors

Hannah Gutierrez Reed claims six errors in her manslaughter trial, asserting incorrect jury instructions, biased testimony and other issues that led to her wrongful conviction.

AceShowbiz - "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has filed an appeal, claiming that Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer made six errors during her involuntary manslaughter trial in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Gutierrez Reed, 27, is serving an 18-month sentence at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants, N.M. In her appeal filed with the state's Court of Appeals on Wednesday, June 12, her defense attorney, Jason Bowles, alleges problems with the jury instructions and the judge's decision to allow "lay opinions" on Gutierrez Reed's conduct as an armorer.

Alec Baldwin, who also faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in the same case, is scheduled to go on trial on July 9 before Sommer. Gutierrez Reed mistakenly loaded a live bullet instead of a dummy round into Baldwin's gun, which then fired during preparation for a scene in the Western film.

A key issue in Gutierrez Reed's appeal is the definition of involuntary manslaughter. Her attorneys argue that the jury instructions, which stated that the defendant "should have known" of the risk of their actions, set a lower bar for conviction than required by precedent. Baldwin's defense has advanced a similar argument in seeking to dismiss his indictment.

Gutierrez Reed's appeal also claims that the judge erred in allowing testimony from crew members who she alleges were not experts in gun handling. She further argues that the prosecution mistakenly handed over a trove of attorney-client text messages to a key witness, and that the jury instructions permitted the jury to convict her on either loading the live round into Baldwin's gun or failing to adequately check the rounds.

The defense also accuses Sommer of excluding testimony from OSHA witnesses and Gutierrez Reed's own gun expert and of classifying involuntary manslaughter as a "serious violent offense," requiring Gutierrez Reed to serve at least 85% of her sentence.

Gutierrez Reed may be called as a witness at Baldwin's trial. Her attorneys have asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, while prosecutors seek to compel her testimony by granting her immunity.

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