As someone who stuck his neck out a bit to assure the public that the Iowa Bryan Kohberger case was going to be successfully prosecuted, I say with regret: I have no such faith in the Baldwin case.
As such: I’m not sure it’s worth indicting him.
Let’s do a quick timeline of this disaster, shall we?
October 2021: Film crew members Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza are shot on the set of the Rust production, by a gun that Alec is holding. Hutchins dies. Alec contends he did not depress the trigger.
August 2022: The New Mexico DA on the case, Mary Altwies, hires Andrea Reeb, a NM legislator, as a Special Prosecutor to assist her.
Now: Somewhere in here, the gun in question is sent to the FBI for testing, to see if what Baldwin contends is possible. Incredibly, and reportedly with the prosecution’s consent, the FBI destroys parts of the gun while testing it. Apparently, by hitting it with a mallet.
So it takes until 14 months after the initial event before….
January 2023: Alec and set armorer Hannah Guttierez are charged with Involuntary Manslaughter.
March 29, 2023: The judge on the case rules that Spec. Prosecutor Reeb has to step down due to a conflict of interest. She does. DA Altwies then also withdraws from prosecuting the case.
March 30, 2023: Two new Special Prosecutors, Kari Morrison and Jason Lewis, take over.
April, 2023: The two new Special Prosecutors drop the charges against Baldwin.
May, 2023: For some reason, the two new Special Prosecutors then order new ballistics tests on the gun Baldwin was holding when the incident occurred.
The prosecution also states that the gun may have been “modified” from its original state before being handed to Baldwin on-set.
June, 2023: Lead investigator on the case, Chief Robert Shilling of the N. Mexico State Police, is either forced off the case or quits. He sends an email to the Prosecutors’ office, in which he states that the conduct of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office during and after their initial investigation is “reprehensible and unprofessional to a degree I still have no words for.”
He adds: “Not I or 200 more proficient investigators than I can/could clean up the mess delivered to your office in October 2022 (1 year since the initial incident…inexcusable).”
Shilling’s email is somehow inadvertantly sent to Ms. Guttierez’s defense attorney, Jason Bowles (the list of ball drops in this thing is just astounding).
As a result, defense attorney Bowles indicates he believes the prosecution has been witholding evidence favorable to his client and states that he will be calling Chief Shilling — who wrote the criminal complaint against Guttierez — as a defense witness.
August 2023: Results of the new ballistics tests on the gun come back, apparently confirming the FBI’s assessment that the gun could only be fired if the trigger was pulled. However, the tests were done with “replacement parts” because the FBI tests destroyed the key parts of the original gun.
(Photo 159650919 | Alec Baldwin © Starstock | Dreamstime.com)
Folks, I included the entire timeline because I think it speaks for itself. While I admittedly don’t have all the facts, under the facts as-reported (and that remain uncontradicted): This case is without peer as a prosecutorial and investigatory calamity.
How can the prosecutors now expect to get a 12-person jury to unanimously agree that Alec Baldwin is guilty of Negligent Manslaughter when even the lead investigator is on-record as saying that the investigation was badly botched?
And when the key piece of evidence in the case — the gun — has been so damaged that what is essentially a facsimile is only now available for trial?
And when the supposed “new” evidence is again, the result of tests done on a facsimile?
Especially when the prosecutors themselves admit that the original gun might have been modified — but they no longer have it?
It pains me to say it, but: I’m not even sure they can convict Guttierez.
Drop the case. And all involved should resign.
(And as a last note: As I wrote here, there are still numerous pending civil cases [including those lodged by Baldwin]. But the fact that Halyna’s husband is now listed as an Executive Producer on the Rust production just adds to the ick factor of the whole affair).