“Rust” assistant director Dave Halls was sentenced Friday after pleading no contest.
Halls entered a plea of no contest to the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer accepted the plea. The prosecution requested a suspended sentence, which is a conviction.
Halls’ attorney argued his sentence should be deferred. Lisa Torraco explained that Halls did not have control over how individual people handled safety on the set.
“In his mind, he was checking for dummy rounds or blanks,” she explained. “He, like many others, is extremely traumatized.” He’s “rattled” with feelings of guilt, she added.
She also emphasized that Halls came in early to the court and pleaded no contest so that everyone can move on and begin processing what happened.
However, Sommer was not convinced and gave him a suspended sentence. The assistant director will not serve jail time and instead was given six months of unsupervised probation.
Halls’ probation includes testifying truthfully at any trials or hearings, a $500 fine, participation in a firearms safety course with proof of completion within 60 days of his plea, agree to take responsibly, obey state and local laws, no alcohol, 24 hours of community service and no contact with any potential witnesses or co-defendants.
Halls’ original hearing was scheduled for March 29.
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Halls and the district attorney reached the plea agreement on Jan. 20.
Halls was one of three people to be charged in connection to Hutchins’ death.
Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were both charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Halls allegedly handed Baldwin a .45 revolver, telling him that it was “cold,” or safe. Prior to that, Gutierrez-Reed spun the cylinder to show Halls what was in the gun, her lawyer previously said.
Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun – once during a prime-time interview shortly following the deadly shooting and again on a podcast episode. The actor originally said he had pulled the hammer of the gun back as far as he could and released it, but did not pull the trigger.
Halls’ attorney previously claimed the assistant director didn’t hand off the gun to Baldwin, despite search warrants confirming he had told police he did.
“This idea my client grabbed the gun and handed it to Baldwin absolutely did not happen,” Lisa Torracco said shortly after the shooting during an appearance on “The Story.” She later dodged questions during the interview about whether Halls handed the gun to Baldwin, despite Martha McCallum asking whether Halls “doesn’t know if he handed the gun to Alec Baldwin.”
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The investigation into Hutchins’ death went on for over a year.
The prosecution has also been plagued with issues as Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers fight for a fair trial.
Most recently, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stepped down as the prosecutor after Jason Bowles, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, argued she could not serve as co-counsel alongside a special prosecutor under New Mexico law.
In response, two new special prosecutors were assigned to the case – Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis.
“Morrissey’s and Lewis’ extensive experience and trial expertise will allow the state to pursue justice for Halyna Hutchins and ensure that in New Mexico everyone is held accountable under the law,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson for First New Mexico Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement.
New Mexico State Representative Andrea Reeb was previously serving as the special prosecutor before she stepped down on March 14.
Baldwin’s attorneys filed a motion arguing Reeb’s appointment was unconstitutional and that she could not serve as a legislative member and prosecutor at the same time under New Mexico law.
A preliminary hearing for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed is scheduled to begin on May 3.
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