Santa Fe’s district attorney has said the settlement between Alec Baldwin, Rust producers and the family of Halyna Hutchins will have “no impact” on the ongoing criminal investigation into her death – and that “no one is above the law”.
A spokesperson for Mary Carmack-Altwies issued a statement following the announcement of the undisclosed civil settlement, saying charges could still be brought.
Hutchins, a cinematographer, died after a prop gun held by Baldwin was discharged during rehearsals for western film Rust on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set in New Mexico in October 2021, and her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the star and others who worked on the production earlier this year.
Lawyers for her husband Matthew Hutchins, the Hollywood film star and other producers have now confirmed this has been settled – and that filming is due to resume in 2023, with Mr Hutchins taking an executive producer role.
In a statement shared with Sky News, Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the Office of the First Judicial District Attorney, said this would not affect the criminal investigation.
“The proposed settlement 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-Altwies’ ongoing investigation or her ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case,” the statement said.
“While civil suits are settled privately and often involve financial awards, criminal cases deal only in facts.
“If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought. No one is above the law.”
Filming on Rust will pick up in January 2023, with director Joel Souza – who was wounded in the incident – returning to helm the project.
“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 following the settlement announcement.
What did Baldwin, the Rust producers and Mr Hutchins say about the settlement?
Baldwin is a producer for the film, as well as its star.
Confirming the settlement, he thanked all those who “contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation” and said they all wanted to “do what is best for Halyna’s son”.
Mr Hutchins said he has “no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr Baldwin)”, and 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.”
A lawyer for Rust Movie Productions said: “We are pleased the parties came together to resolve this matter, which, subject to court approval, marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honouring her work.”
Almost a year on, no charges have been filed in connection with the incident.
In an on-camera interview a few weeks afterward, Baldwin recalled the moments leading up to the tragedy. He said he was handed the revolver and told “this is a cold gun” – an industry term meaning it was either empty or loaded with dummy rounds.
He said the gun went off accidentally and that he did not pull the trigger. However, a recent FBI forensic report found the weapon could not have been fired unless the trigger was pulled.
The settlement comes after a report found the film’s production company “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set” and “demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety”.
Read more: Who was Halyna Hutchins?
Rust Movie Productions was fined $136,793 (£104,810), the maximum allowable by state law in New Mexico, following a six-month investigation by the state’s environment department.
Baldwin and the Rust producers also face a case brought by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, although a Los Angeles judge recently ruled they would not have to face its central claims of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.