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Alec Baldwin settles with family of cinematographer killed on set of ‘Rust’

The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins had filed a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with the October 2021 incident.
/ Source: TODAY

Alec Baldwin and the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins have settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the actor and others involved in producing "Rust," after Hutchins was killed on the set of the film last year.

The settlement involving the producers of “Rust,” including Baldwin, was announced Oct. 5. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” Luke Nikas, an attorney for Baldwin, said in a statement. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”

The lawsuit, filed in February, accused Baldwin and others of reckless behavior and cost-cutting measures that Hutchins' family said led to her death. Hutchins, 42, was fatally shot in October 2021 after Baldwin fired a prop gun that contained a live round while filming the movie.

"We are pleased the parties came together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work," Rust Movie Productions said in a statement released by its lawyer, Melina Spadone.

Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins, will be an executive producer on the movie once it begins filming again in January 2023.

"I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin)," he said in a statement. "All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work."

Joel Souza, the director of "Rust" who was injured during the incident, said his decision to finish directing the film "could only make sense for me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family."

"Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started," he said. "My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf."

Baldwin, 64, said in an interview with ABC News that aired last December that he "didn't pull the trigger" in the fatal shooting.

"Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger," he said. "No, no, no, I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never."

Aaron Dyer, an attorney for Baldwin and other “Rust” producers, said in a statement released after the wrongful death lawsuit was filed that the producers were continuing to work with authorities to determine how live ammunition got on set.

The civil settlement won't inhibit prosecutors from pursuing a case against anyone who might be criminally responsible for Halyna Hutchins' death.

The New Mexico Board of Finance approved a special budget allocation last month of over $300,000 to the office of First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies for possible prosecutions connected to the fatal shooting, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Heather Brewer, a spokesperson for the office of the First Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement on Oct. 5, “The proposed settlement announced today in Matthew Hutchins’ wrongful death case against Rust movie producers, including Alec Baldwin, in the death of Halyna Hutchins will have no impact on District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis’ ongoing investigation or her ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case.”

The investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, and no criminal charges have been filed in the case.

In a statement later in the day on Oct. 5, Carmack-Altweis' spokesperson said they are still waiting on the final report from Santa Fe County Sheriff before deciding whether to file criminal charges.

“At this time there is no further information on a timeline for the DA’s investigation or the possible filing of charges. The District Attorney is waiting for the final report for the Santa Fe County Sheriff,” the statement said. “Once she receives the report, the District Attorney and her team of professional attorneys and investigators will carefully review all of the materials provided. The District Attorney’s priority will be upholding the integrity of the process and ensuring that, like any other case she handles, this investigation is held to the highest standards.”