Alec Baldwin 'wants his day in court' as district attorney disputes claim 'Rust' firearm has been destroyed
LOS ANGELES - Alec Baldwin's lawyer told a judge Thursday the "30 Rock" actor "wants his day in court," and claimed the gun used in the fatal "Rust" shooting was destroyed by the state.
Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the office of the First Judicial District Attorney, then confirmed with Fox News Digital that the gun has "not been destroyed by the state."
"The gun Alec Baldwin used in the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins has not been destroyed by the state. The gun is in evidence and is available for the defense to review," Brewer said.
"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. However, the gun still exists and can be used as evidence."
Baldwin previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. He was charged in January, more than a year after the fatal shooting on the "Rust" film set.
Alex Spiro, who represents Baldwin, and Jason Bowles, who represents Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, appeared Thursday before a judge for a status hearing in the case.
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The actor's lawyer informed the judge the gun used by Baldwin had been destroyed but didn't give any details as to why or how. The gun had been sent for testing by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department during the investigation.
The revelation is "another bungle" for the prosecution, celebrity lawyer Duncan Levin told Fox News Digital.
"This is another bungle in a case that should not have been brought in the first place. How the state could destroy a gun that is, in the state’s misguided view, a murder weapon is quite stunning," he said. "This is a critical piece of evidence in the case, and Alec Baldwin is entitled to be able to examine it. Now, it appears to be missing, much like their basis for bringing this criminal case in the first place."
A hearing was scheduled for March 27 regarding Baldwin's motion to disqualify the special prosecutor. Additionally, a preliminary hearing, which the district attorney expects to last two weeks, was set for May 3.
The prosecution was given a deadline of April 17 to submit a list of witnesses to be called during the preliminary hearing.
Baldwin did not appear at Thursday's hearing and waived his right to make personal appearances at any future status hearings, according to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital. This move followed the "30 Rock" actor's decision to waive his first appearance in court.
The defense also revealed the prosecution will hand over discovery today.
Prosecutors laid out their case against Baldwin in specific detail in the probable cause statement released Jan. 31 and obtained by Fox News Digital.
The DA claimed Baldwin's decision to skip firearms trainings, lack of safety meetings on set and the negligent handling of the gun show he acted in a way that endangered others.
Baldwin's legal team and the DA are in a battle to have the special prosecutor removed from the case. The actor's lawyers claimed having Rep. Angela Reeb serve as a special prosecutor and legislative member could create precedent that distorts the legislative process. Prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies pushed back in a March 6 filing obtained by Fox News Digital.
"Any attempt by Ms. Reeb as a legislator to influence the outcome of this trial would be completely ineffective," the court filing stated.
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Baldwin's team originally argued Reeb's involvement in the prosecution was "unconstitutional."
"Doing so vests two core powers of different branches — legislating and prosecuting — in the same person and is thus barred by the plain language of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution," his team wrote.
Baldwin previously scored a legal win when the judge chose to drop the firearms enhancement charge originally brought by the prosecution. The actor's legal team argued adding the enhancement was unconstitutional because the law was not enacted until after the fatal shooting.
Fox News' Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this report