Last October, the “30 Rock” actor fatally shot Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza when a gun he was holding on the set of the Western film “Rust” discharged. Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger and it is still uncertain how live bullets ended up in a gun on a film set.
The Santa Fe police department has been investigating the incident since it occurred, and it seems that they may be close to filing criminal charges against multiple individuals. However, Alec Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, has said it is “irresponsible” to suspect that Baldwin will be one of the people criminally responsible for Hutchins’ death.
Alec Baldwin’s Attorney Warns Against Drawing ‘False Conclusions’
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, is responding to a letter published on August 30 from Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, which requested $635K from the New Mexico Board of Finance to prosecute as many as four individuals with criminal and homicide charges.
In the letter, the DA said “one of the possible defendants is well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin” (via Deadline).
Nikas responded to the note to the finance board, saying, “During my communications with the DA’s office just a few weeks ago, after the August 30 funding request was submitted, I was told that it would be premature to discuss the case because they had not yet reviewed the file or deliberated about their charging decision.”
Nikas continued to say that “It is irresponsible to report otherwise,” adding, “The DA’s office must be given the space to review this matter without unfounded speculation and innuendo.”
“The DA has made clear that she has not received the sheriff’s report or made any decisions about who, if anyone, might be charged in this case,” he added.
Santa Fe DA May File Criminal Charges Against As Many As 4 People
As Deadline previously reported, the Santa Fe D.A. has been granted $317,750 dollars to prosecute as many as four people in the fatal “Rust” shooting of Halyna Hutchins. However, none of the four individuals have yet to be named. It is possible that Baldwin will be charged, given that he was the one holding the firearm when it discharged, but that is unconfirmed at this time.
A rep for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office told Deadline that “no final report has been provided” and had no further comment on when, or if, charges will be filed against these four individuals. The $317,750 dollars will go towards “an attorney, an investigator, media contact person, paralegal, expert witnesses, and general trial expenses.”
Although the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office is still investigating how live rounds ended up on a film set, Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed criticized the investigation on April 18.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Calls Out Santa Fe Police Departments ‘Rust’ Investigation
According to The Wrap, Gutierrez-Reed called out the Santa Fe police department after she learned that they did not do DNA testing on the live rounds found on the film set. She claims that the lack of DNA “raises a serious problem” in their investigation.
“The primary question in this case from the beginning has been where did the live rounds that ended upon the Rust set come from?” Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement. “As can be seen from the attached emails, the Sheriff’s office made a conscious decision not to pursue this question at all by refusing to ask the FBI to test any of the rounds for fingerprints or DNA.”
She went on to say that, since law enforcement officials know “for certain” there were live rounds on set, “It is inconceivable that the Sheriff would not seek answers to this fundamental question and it raises a serious problem with the entire investigation.”
She also shared an email chain that appeared to contain a conversation with Albuquerque attorney Jason Bowles, who represents Gutierrez-Reed, and Alexandria J. Hancock from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office.
“Do you know why the fbi didn’t do any dna testing on the rounds?” Bowles wrote to Hancock in the email, dated Thursday, Aug. 18 at 8:32 a.m. Less than an hour later, Hancock responded, “We discussed as a team what would make most sense for the investigation. Given the fact the items were from movie sets, which had been handled over and over and over.”
Bowles seemed to agree, adding that it was still possible to obtain DNA from the rounds. Hancock replied, “Thank you for your input, however we are done with testing at this time. We already know Hannah loaded the weapon that was used during the incident, that was her statement. We also know everything in question was handled by multiple people after the incident.”
Bowles asked Hancock to reconsider, noting, “This will be a very significant issue at trial, if we get there.”