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Alec Baldwin files suit over ‘Rust’ shooting, seeks to ‘clear his name’

Alec Baldwin filed a cross-complaint on Friday seeking to “clear his name” in the shooting death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and said that blame for the tragedy lies with three crew members and with the man who supplied ammunition to the set.

Baldwin named all four as cross-defendants in a lawsuit originally filed against him last year by Mamie Mitchell, the film’s script supervisor. Baldwin said he relied on all four to do their jobs, and that Hutchins died as a result of their negligence.

As a result, Baldwin says he has experienced “immense grief” and suffered an “emotional, physical and financial toll.”

“More than anyone else on that set, Baldwin has been wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy,” wrote Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas. “By these Cross-Claims, Baldwin seeks to clear his name and hold Cross-Defendants accountable for their misconduct.”

Baldwin was holding a Colt .45 revolver when it went off during preparation for a scene near Santa Fe, N.M., on Oct. 21, 2021. He has said that he pulled the hammer back, though not far enough to cock it, and then released it — causing the gun to fire. He has said he did not pull the trigger.

The Colt. 45 should have contained only dummy rounds, which contain no projectile and no charge. But it was loaded with one live round, which passed through Hutchins’ body and lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office recently completed its criminal investigation, and local prosecutors are now considering whether to file charges against Baldwin or any of the crew members.

The cross-complaint amounts to a lengthy and detailed exoneration of Baldwin prepared by his civil attorneys, complete with text messages and photos from the Sheriff’s investigation.

The document faults armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed for having “failed to perform her job carefully and as a result a live round was loaded into the gun that she had negligently failed to identify.”

Image: Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.Fred Hayes / Getty Images file

Baldwin also accuses David Halls, the first assistant director, of failing to check the gun carefully and faults him for declaring the gun to be “cold” as he handed it to Baldwin — meaning the rounds did not contain any charges.

The cross-complaint also faults Sarah Zachry, the propmaster, for failing to adequately supervise Gutierrez Reed and failing to maintain a safe set. Further, Baldwin accuses Seth Kenney, the supplier, of showing a “cavalier disregard for proper separation between live and dummy ammunition.”

All four have previously denied culpability. Gutierrez Reed has sued Kenney for supplying her with live ammunition that closely resembled dummy rounds, while Kenney has denied including any live rounds in the box of dummies that he supplied to the set.

Mitchell, who is represented by Gloria Allred, alleges in her lawsuit that she was four feet away when the gun went off. She has alleged that she suffered painful ringing in her ears in addition to emotional trauma. Her suit alleges that Baldwin intentionally “cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm.”

Baldwin has tried to throw out the suit, on the grounds that on-set accidents are the exclusive domain of New Mexico workers compensation system. A Los Angeles judge denied his motion on Nov. 1.

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