Alec Baldwin 'Rust' trial: Meet the key players

A guide to the names and faces we expect to see as this trial plays out.

David Halls, Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (Getty Images)
David Halls, the movie's first assistant director, actor Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer. (Getty Images)

Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial over the accidental shooting death of Rust’s cinematographer is set to begin in New Mexico.

The actor and producer on the western film was rehearsing a scene with a Colt .45-caliber revolver in October 2021 when it discharged, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin has maintained that he never pulled the trigger. His legal team argues that the gun was modified, allowing it to shoot without a trigger pull. He has pointed a finger at whoever allowed the live round on the film set and the first assistant director for failing to do a safety check before handing him the gun.

Prosecutors, who dropped initial charges against Baldwin in 2023 but recharged him in January, claim he was “reckless” and engaged in “horseplay” with the gun on set. They claim he was “inattentive during the firearms training,” pointed the gun at crew members, put his finger on the trigger in scenes that didn’t require him to, used the gun as a pointer, fired it after “cut” was called on a scene and rushed the film’s armorer to reload faster between takes, describing his behavior as “erratic and aggressive.”

We’ve had a preview of Baldwin’s trial — videos, photos, texts and witness testimony — because the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a jury in March and given the maximum sentence of 18 months in prison. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, who presided over Gutierrez-Reed’s trial, is set to do the same for Baldwin, and special prosecutor Kari Morrissey will again represent the state. Also, many of the state’s witnesses in Baldwin’s case are the same ones who testified in Gutierrez-Reed’s case. Baldwin also faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

In April 2023, Rust resumed filming in Montana — with Baldwin and director Souza returning to the production — but the movie has not been released.

With testimony set to start on July 10 and conclude on July 19, here’s a guide to the names and faces we expect to see as this plays out in court.

A screenshot of Alec Baldwin holding what looks like a gun on the set of
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation findings include a video of Baldwin on the set of Rust in 2021. (Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office)

The Academy Award-nominated actor is the defendant in the criminal trial. He told ABC News in December 2021, “Someone is ​responsible for what happened … but it’s not me.” Prosecutors say he shouldn’t have pointed a gun at Hutchins, or anyone else, and improperly handled the gun on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer speaks with prosecutor Kari Morrissey, left, and defense attorney Jason Bowles.
Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer also presided over Gutierrez-Reed's trial. (Eddie Moore/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Sommer, of the First Judicial District Courthouse in Santa Fe, has shot down Baldwin’s attempts to get the case dismissed. She wants the jury to hear the evidence and come to a conclusion.

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey questions a witness during Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's involuntary manslaughter trial.
Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey previously convinced a jury that Rust armorer Gutierrez-Reed was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. (Gabriela Campos/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

She is the special prosecutor who will present the state’s case against Baldwin, along with Erlinda O. Johnson. Morrissey took over the case in 2023, dropping and later refiling the charges against Baldwin. In her closing arguments during Gutierrez-Reed’s trial, she told the jury, “Baldwin’s conduct and his lack of gun safety inside that church on that day is something that he’s going to have to answer for.”

Baldwin’s lead attorney, from the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan LLP, will defend the actor along with a team of attorneys. They have filed five motions to get Baldwin’s case dismissed, including a June 24 argument claiming the case should be tossed because investigators destroyed the gun — a key piece of evidence — during testing in 2022. They’ve said they “look forward to our day in court.”

“Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, left, with husband Matthew Hutchins and their son, Andros Hutchins.
Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the Rust set, is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their son, Andros Hutchins. (Courtesy of the Hutchins family)

The widower of Hutchins — who is not expected to testify but may be present in court — is an attorney and the father of the couple’s only son. After reaching a settlement with the film producers, he is also an executive producer on Rust.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in court.
Gutierrez-Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in March and is serving 18 months in prison. (Luis Sanchez Saturno/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The film’s currently incarcerated armorer, who has said she wants to see Baldwin “in jail,” is on the prosecution’s witness list. However, Gutierrez-Reed, who’s appealing her conviction, said in phone calls from jail that she “will not show up” if called to testify and invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege in a pretrial interview.

Prosecutors filed a motion to force her to testify while promising immunity, which Baldwin’s team opposed. Sommer ruled that Gutierrez-Reed won’t be forced to testify, saying she doesn’t need a “mini trial within a trial.”

David Halls, former first assistant director on the film.
Halls testifies during Gutierrez-Reed’s trial. (GABRIELA CAMPOS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Rust’s assistant director and the set’s safety coordinator — who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of negligent handling of a weapon in March 2023 and served six months of unsupervised probation — testified at Gutierrez-Reed’s trial that he “was negligent in checking the gun properly.” He has since retired from filmmaking.

Rust director Joel Souza.
Rust director Joel Souza, who was also shot that day, is expected to testify. (Court TV via YouTube)

The Rust director, who was also shot that day, is expected to testify as he did at the armorer’s trial.

Sarah Zachry.
Rust prop master Sarah Zachry (Court TV via YouTube)

The Rust prop master, who worked with Gutierrez-Reed loading the guns, but wanted to fire her prior to the shooting, is also expected to testify. During the armorer’s trial, Zachry, who signed a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, admitted that after the set shooting, she took the ammunition in prop guns used by other actors on set and threw the dummies in the trash.

Seth Kenney.
Seth Kenney provided ammunition for the film shoot. (Law & Crime Network via YouTube)

The owner of PDQ Arm and Prop — who supplied dummies, blanks and the Colt .45 for the Rust shoot, but denied giving the armorer any live ammunition — is expected to testify.

Lucien Haag shows the jury a gun exactly like the evidence gun during the involuntary manslaughter trial of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
Firearms expert Lucien Haag (Luis Sánchez Saturno-Pool/Getty Images)

He’s a weapons expert who conducted a firearms report on the weapon released last year. He found that “that the trigger had to be pulled” for the gun to shoot, going against Baldwin’s claim he didn’t pull the trigger.

Bryan Carpenter testifies during Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's trial.
Firearms safety expert Bryan Carpenter. (Gabriela Campos-Pool/Getty Images)

A gun expert for the prosecution, who testified during the armorer’s trial, pointed out many red flags — including numerous instances of improper gun handling — in footage obtained from the Rust set.

Bryce Ziegler.
FBI firearms expert Bryce Ziegler. (Court TV via YouTube)

The FBI firearms expert for the prosecution testified at Gutierrez-Reed’s trial that the gun would not have fired under normal conditions unless its handler manually cocked it and pulled the trigger.

Mamie Mitchell.
Rust script supervisor Mamie Mitchell (Court TV via YouTube)

The Rust script supervisor, who was present during the shooting and called 911, testified at Gutierrez-Reed’s trial. Mitchell, who has since filed a civil lawsuit over the shooting, has retired from filmmaking.

Cherlyn Schaefer.
Rust set medic Cherlyn Schaefer (Law & Crime Network via YouTube)

The Rust set medic, who testified in Gutierrez-Reed’s trial, attended to Hutchins after she was shot until the helicopter arrived. Schaefer, who has also filed a lawsuit against crew members, the film’s production entity and Bonanza Creek Ranch over the shooting, delivered emotional testimony about being with Hutchins in her final moments.