It was on a New Mexico movie set in October 2021 that actor Alec Baldwin negligently discharged a firearm during a rehearsal and shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, which prompted a wrongful death civil lawsuit in February from Hutchins’ family against Baldwin and the film’s production company.
A shocking report now indicates that production on the “Rust” movie will resume in January after a settlement was reached to drop that lawsuit, according to Breitbart.
Yet, while that settlement may relieve Baldwin of civil liability in the tragic death of Hutchins for that particular suit, there are other civil lawsuits still pending as well as the possibility that New Mexico officials may press criminal charges against Baldwin and others over the fatal incident.
Settlement reached to drop wrongful death lawsuit
Deadline reported exclusively on Wednesday that a settlement had been reached to drop the civil suit between the Hutchins estate and Rust Movie Productions LLC plus Baldwin, which would allow production on the film to resume after being placed on hold immediately following the on-set shooting.
Though not all of the details of the agreement have been disclosed, and it must be approved by the court, it was revealed that one of the terms of the settlement was that Matthew Hutchins, the widower husband of Halyna, would be named as an executive producer of the film.
“We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC. As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed,” Hutchins said in a statement. “The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023.”
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he added. “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.”
Deadline also shared statements from Baldwin, the production company, and director Joel Souza — who had also been injured by Baldwin’s negligent discharge of the firearm — that announced and expressed pleasure in the settlement and news that production would once again resume on the film.
The actor could still face criminal charges in New Mexico
Baldwin is not entirely clear of potential consequences for his actions, though, as CBS News reported just a couple of weeks ago that New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies had requested emergency funding for her office and announced the possibility that she could soon file criminal charges against up to four individuals involved in the incident, including Baldwin.
The prosecutor had requested up to $635,500 from the New Mexico Board of Finance but, according to the outlet, had been approved for just $317,750. Those funds would likely be used to pay for additional attorneys, paralegals, support staff, expert testimony, and even a public information officer to handle the extensive media attention on the case.
“We are within weeks, if not days, of receiving the final report from the sheriff’s office,” the DA told the Board during a Sept. 20 meeting, and noted that “it’s become apparent that we will be potentially charging between one and four people with criminal charges and each of those charges will probably include some variation of our homicide statute.”
CBS News further noted that Carmack-Altwies had informed the Board in a letter that Baldwin would likely be one of the charged defendants in the complex case that “could require up to four separate jury trials” — though final decisions on potential charges won’t be made until multiple additional reports on various details of the incident had been finalized.