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Tipsheet

With Alec Baldwin Facing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit, His Lawyer Declares Something Rather Incredible

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Alec Baldwin shot and killed someone. That's a fact. On the set of "Rust," which was to be his new movie, the actor shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. He was supposedly not careful with one of the set firearms. They were reportedly practicing a stunt. An associate director allegedly gave Baldwin a "cold gun." Baldwin allegedly didn't check. It went off, and Hutchins was killed. Director Joel Souza was also hit. 

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Baldwin sort of went under the radar before holding a very impromptu presser on the side of the road in Vermont where he absconded with his fake Spanish wife, Hilaria. He then had the gusto to declare that someone is responsible for Hutchins' death, but it was not him. 

There was reportedly a slew of issues with the on-set location. The original filming crew had quit the day of the incident. Some of the blame was directed at the film's armorer, but let's be honest here: Baldwin pulled the trigger. 

He's now facing a wrongful death suit, and Baldwin's lawyer declares that the actor was not "reckless" (via LA Times) [emphasis mines]: 

The family of slain “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin and other film producers Tuesday, blaming the tragedy on cost-cutting measures and reckless behavior by Baldwin and others.

Hutchins, 42, was fatally wounded Oct. 21 when Baldwin pulled a revolver from his holster and fired it toward Hutchins and other crew members during a rehearsal on the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set near Santa Fe, N.M. The bullet also struck director Joel Souza, who recovered.

The lawsuit alleged that Baldwin and other producers of the low-budget film sacrificed crew members’ safety by hiring inexperienced crew members and disregarding safety concerns expressed earlier by camera crew operators.

The lawsuit placed much of the blame on Baldwin, who, according to the lawsuit, refused training in the “cross-draw” maneuver that he was practicing that day — just four feet from Hutchins and other crew members.

[…]

“Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy. We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the “Rust” set in the first place,” Aaron Dyer, Los Angeles-based attorney for Baldwin and other producers of “Rust” said in a statement.

Any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false,” Dyer said. “He, Halyna and the rest of the crew relied on the statement by the two professionals responsible for checking the gun that it was a “cold gun” — meaning there is no possibility of a discharge, blank or otherwise. This protocol has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges, as there has never before been an incident on a set where an actual bullet harmed anyone. Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use.”

The suit comes amid an ongoing criminal investigation into the incident by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office that has focused on the actions of Gutierrez Reed, Halls and Baldwin. Investigators have been trying to determine how a live bullet wound up on the set of “Rust.”

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Yikes. It doesn't matter, Mr. Dyer. Of course, that's a good protocol, but it's always, always imperative that you check your gun and never take anyone else's word for it. Ever heard of the phrase "trust but verify"? Checking to see if this was indeed a "cold gun" would have taken mere seconds. The reckless aspect here is that he didn't follow basic gun safety. The reckless part is that he didn't check. Baldwin being a producer for this film also puts him in the crosshairs. Lawyer Gloria Allred noted that because of that producer credit, the responsibility for this incident falls on him.

"I wasn't reckless when I shot and killed someone" is quite a defense. Shameless, really. 

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