Santa Fe, NM – Actor Alec Baldwin says he is not “culpable” for having fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the “Rust” film and argued that he is shielded from financial responsibility for her death under the terms of his contract, according to documents filed by his attorney.
Baldwin also attempted to arrange a settlement with Hutchins’ husband after her death so filmmakers could complete the production of the movie, Variety reported.
According to arbitration paperwork filed by his attorney, Luke Nikas, on March 11, 63-year-old Baldwin said he had no idea he fired a live round at Hutchins, 42, until a Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) investigator showed a photo of the bullet to him at the conclusion of an interview, Business Insider reported.
“Baldwin thought Hutchins may have fainted or had a heart attack,” according to the filing. “He was also confused about why [director Joel] Souza was screaming in pain, unaware that a live bullet had struck him. One individual suggested that a stone might have been lodged in the gun and discharged.”
The idea the gun Baldwin had fired contained a live bullet was “unthinkable” to him, because someone else responsible for verifying its safety had assured him it was “cold,” the document alleged.
According to the arbitration paperwork, “others” on set “quickly dismissed” the possibility the firearm could have contained a live round – calling such a notion “farfetched” – since two staff members were responsible for ensuring they did not contain live bullets, Business Insider reported.
“He was shocked,” the arbitration demand read, according to Business Insider. “In his mind, it was outside the realm of all possibility that a live bullet could have been present on the ranch property or on the prop truck, let alone in the gun itself.”
Nikas further declared the actor should not be responsible for the legal costs of defending himself in the fatal shooting case and alleged such obligations should fall to the “Rust” production company, Business Insider reported.
He argued in the 37-page document that Baldwin is shielded from financial culpability for the fatal shooting under the terms of his contract.
The contract specifically includes a clause protecting Baldwin and his production company “from and against any loss, damage, liability, claim, demand, action, cost and expense” in connection with the filming of “Rust,” Business Insider reported.
“At this point, two things are clear: someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin,” Nikas wrote, according to Business Insider.
Brian Panish, the attorney representing Hutchins’ family, said the arbitration demand shows “Alec Baldwin once again is trying to avoid liability and accountability for his reckless actions before and on October 21 that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins,” Business Insider reported.
“It is shameful that Baldwin claims Hutchins’ actions in filing a wrongful death lawsuit derailed the completion of ‘Rust,’” Panish added. “The only action that ended the film’s production was Baldwin’s killing of Halyna Hutchins.”