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Actor Alec Baldwin settles lawsuit over killing cinematographer on film set

Alec Baldwin poses with outstanding supporting actor award in a comedy series for "Saturday Night Live" at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017
Alec Baldwin poses with outstanding supporting actor award in a comedy series for "Saturday Night Live" at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017   -   Copyright  Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP   -  
By Euronews  with AP

Lawyers for Alec Baldwin have reached a settlement over the lawsuit brought by the family of the cinematographer he shot and killed in October last year on the Santa Fe set of the film "Rust".

The actor, who was also a producer on the film, was pointing a prop gun filled with live rounds at Halyna Hutchins when it went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza. They had been inside a small church during setup for filming a scene.

New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting was an accident following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports.

"Terrible accident"

“We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust including Alec Baldwin,” said a statement from Matthew Hutchins, widow of Hutchins and a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with their 9-year-old son Andros. 

“As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed. 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),” Matthew Hutchins said in the 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.”

Jae C. Hong/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved
Bonanza Creek Ranch film set New Mexico where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot by actor Alec BaldwinJae C. Hong/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved

Rust filming to resume

Baldwin announced the settlement agreement in an Instagram post

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

Baldwin has said the gun went off accidentally and that he did not pull the trigger. But a recent FBI forensic report found the weapon could not not have fired unless the trigger was pulled.

In April, New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau imposed the maximum fine against Rust Movie Productions and distributed a scathing narrative of safety failures, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires of blank ammunition on set prior to the fatal shooting.

Rust Movie Productions told safety regulators that misfires prior to the fatal shooting of Hutchins did not violate safety protocols and that “appropriate corrective actions were taken,” including briefings of cast and crew.

The agreement does not however spell the end of Baldwin's legal wrangles over the film. 

At least four other lawsuits brought by crew members remain, and the state of New Mexico has granted funds to pay for possible criminal prosecutions.