Last October, the Western film was shooting in New Mexico when a gun that Baldwin was holding discharged. The bullet injured director Joel Souza and struck and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. A criminal investigation was launched to uncover how live bullets ended up on a film set; almost one year later, that criminal investigation is still ongoing.
In February, her estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and other “Rust” producers. However, on Wednesday, October 5, Deadline announced that the two parties had reached a settlement and the film would resume shooting in January 2023, with her husband, Matthew Hutchins, signed on to executive produce.
Santa Fe officials released a new statement on Wednesday afternoon, confirming that the wrongful death settlement will not impact the ongoing criminal investigation or the possibility of criminal charges being filed against as many as four individuals.
Santa Fe DA Says That ‘Rust’ Wrongful Death Settlement Will Not Impact Possible Criminal Charges
On Wednesday afternoon, Deadline shared a new statement from Santa Fe law enforcement officials, confirming that the criminal investigation into Hutchins’ death will continue.
Heather Brewer for the Office of the First Judicial District Attorney released a statement, saying, “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.”
“While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts,” Brewer continued. “If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought. No one is above the law.”
Sources told the outlet that the investigation is currently in its final stages and could be handed over to the Santa Fe DA as soon as next week. Last month, Deadline obtained a letter from the DA to the New Mexico Board of Finance requesting $635,000 dollars to pursue criminal charges against as many as four people involved in the production of “Rust.” Ultimately, the DA was only granted $317,750.
In the letter, the DA explicitly stated that “one of the possible defendants is well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin” which caused Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, to fire back, saying “that it would be premature to discuss the case because they had not yet reviewed the file or deliberated about their charging decision.”
“It is irresponsible to report otherwise,” Nikas added. “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.”
Alec Baldwin Releases Statement Following Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlement
On Wednesday morning, the 64-year-old actor took to Instagram to make a short statement alongside a screenshot of the Deadline article that first broke the news.
“We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” Baldwin wrote. “Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Director Joel Souza and Matthew Hutchins also made statements. Souza revealed that all original cast members will return to finish the movies, himself included. “In my own attempts to heal, any decision to return to finish directing the film could only make sense for me if it was done with the involvement of Matt and the Hutchins family,” he said.
In a statement, Matthew Hutchins said, “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.”
“The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023,” he continued.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” Hutchins 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.”