Speed Reads

tragedy on set

Alec Baldwin claims he's shielded from financial liability in Rust shooting

Alec Baldwin, facing multiple lawsuits over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film Rust, claims he's protected from any financial responsibility. 

In a filing on Friday, the actor again denied responsibility for Hutchins' death after a gun he was handling went off during rehearsal for a scene, striking the cinematographer with a live round. Baldwin's attorney claims a clause in his contract shields him from financial liability, The New York Times and TMZ report

"Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin," the lawyer writes.

Hutchins' family filed a lawsuit against Baldwin last month, alleging he's one of a number of people "whose reckless behavior" resulted in her death. The Friday filing again provided Baldwin's account of the shooting, saying Hutchins instructed him to position the gun in a way that it was "directed toward her" and told him to pull back the hammer, leading it to go off unexpectedly. Baldwin also says assistant director Dave Halls announced the gun was "cold," meaning free of live rounds. 

"Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was 'cold' and contained no live rounds," the filing says.

Baldwin "trusted the other professionals on the set to do their jobs" and believed "actors should not unilaterally check guns," as this is the armorer's responsibility, the filing also said. And although Baldwin was a producer on Rust, his attorney writes that he didn't have "authority to choose the crew or otherwise direct the non-creative aspects of the film," nor was he aware of any safety issues on set. 

Hutchins' widow, Matt Hutchins, previously criticized Baldwin for "not [accepting] any responsibility after having just described killing her," arguing the idea that "the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd."