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Alec Baldwin’s lawsuit has been settled, ‘Rust’ set to continue production

After nearly a year since Halyna Hutchins’ death, her family’s lawsuit against ‘Rust’ producers and actor Alec Baldwin has been settled

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Actor Alec Baldwin at United Nations headquarters.

Actor Alec Baldwin is pictured at United Nations headquarters.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

The family of Halyna Hutchins, the “Rust” director of photography who was fatally wounded on the movie’s set, has reached a settlement in their lawsuit against “Rust” star and producer Alec Baldwin and others. Rust Movie Productions LLC will continue production of the film in January 2023, with a new addition to the crew moving forward.

Hutchins was shot on the set of “Rust” on Oct. 21, 2021, when Baldwin practiced a scene with a prop gun after allegedly being told that the gun was “cold.” A real bullet fired instead of dummy rounds and Hutchins was fatally wounded. She died a few hours later, the New York Post reported, and her family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Baldwin, Rust Movie Productions LLC and a handful of other crew members on Feb. 15, 2022.

Baldwin and others have negotiated with Matthew Hutchins, Halyna’s widower, following the shooting on set. Hutchins told Deadline Wednesday morning that after nearly a year since Halyna’s death, the case against the “Rust’’ team would be dismissed as part of the agreement. Hutchins also announced that production would continue at the beginning of 2023, with him in the saddle as executive producer.

“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” Hutchins said. “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.” 

Baldwin wrote a similar announcement on his Instagram later Wednesday, saying, “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.”

But dropping the case will not prevent any criminal charges, the office of the Santa Fe District Attorney has said. Heather Brewer, speaking for the Office of the First Judicial District Attorney, told Deadline that the settlement announced today wouldn’t affect the ongoing investigation District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis is conducting, nor her decision on whether to file charges.

“While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts,” said Brewer. “If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law, then charges will be brought. No one is above the law.”

Carmack-Altweis told the New Mexico Board of Finance last week that she is waiting for final evidence from the sheriff’s office before she decides whether to prosecute anyone from the “Rust” crew. The New York Times reported that four members of the production team may potentially be charged with some variation of homicide, if she decides to pursue further legal action. The original lawsuit accused Baldwin, the “Rust” producers and Rust Movie Productions LLC not only of practicing poor firearm safety during the production of the film, but doing so intentionally.

“Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies were aware of firearms safety issues that had occurred on the set of ‘Rust’ and did not take action to correct the situation and ensure that basic gun safety rules were followed on October 21, 2021,” the lawsuit read, according to Deadline. “Had Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies taken adequate precautions to ensure firearm safety on the set of Rust or if basic firearm safety rules had been followed on the set of Rust on Oct. 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year-old son.”