Washington, Oct 5 (EFE).- American actor and producer Alec Baldwin and the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed on the movie set of “Rust” in New Mexico last October, have reached a settlement that will allow filming to resume and bring an end to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed earlier this year.
As part of the settlement, Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, will be one of that low-budget Western’s executive producers and receive a share of the profits.
“We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of (Ukrainian) cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” Baldwin wrote Wednesday on Instagram.
“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.”
The wrongful-death lawsuit was filed in February in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It alleged that Baldwin – who fatally shot Hutchins in the chest when he unknowingly fired a live round from a prop gun while rehearsing a scene on Oct. 21, 2021 – and other members of the “Rust” production team had failed to follow industry safety standards during filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Bonanza City, New Mexico.
The settlement announced on Wednesday is subject to court approval, Baldwin’s attorneys said.
Filming will restart in January 2023 with the presence of all of the original main cast members. Director Joel Souza, who was standing beside Hutchins and also was wounded in the shoulder by the same gunshot, also is expected to return to the set.
Even if the settlement in the civil case receives court approval, criminal charges could still be filed by the District Attorney’s Office for the Santa Fe area.
“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,” Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for that DA’s office, said.
It was announced a few days ago that New Mexico’s Board of Finance had approved more than $317,000 to cover the cost of potential prosecutions in the case and a special investigator, an amount that was roughly half what the DA’s office had requested.
In a separate investigation, New Mexico authorities in April imposed a nearly $140,000 fine on the producers of “Rust,” including Baldwin, finding that they had failed to follow safety guidelines. EFE